“Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” (Columbia)
By Catholic News Service
Weak follow-up to the 2015 original revolves around two boys (Jeremy Ray Taylor and Caleel Harris) who find an old manuscript by R.L. Stein (Jack Black) — the real-life author of the “Goosebumps” books — and, by opening it, unleash an evil ventriloquist’s dummy (voice of Mick Wingert) who proceeds to cause Halloween chaos by bringing to life all the macabre holiday decorations in the small town where the lads live. As a headless horseman, a trio of witches and a mummy — among many others — run amok, screenwriter Rob Lieber and director Ari Sandel mostly spin their wheels.
Too frightening for the youngest, the film includes a few touches even the parents of teens may not especially appreciate along the way to a wrap-up that unconvincingly promotes family solidarity.
Occult themes, some peril amid thoroughly stylized violence, brief scatological humor, a mild oath, a bit of mature wordplay. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.