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Goosebumps 2 (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

The first Goosebumps film with Jack Black took everyone quite by surprise a few years ago. It was a family horror film that wound up actually being really well done and had us all welcoming a sequel. Said sequel arrived in 2018, which had much less involvement from Jack Black this time around, trying to make a go of it without his presence almost. Marketing didn’t reveal his actual being part of the cast until much late in the game (Probably to not confuse with House With A Clock In Its Walls). Unfortunately it didn’t do as well as its predecessor but hopefully they’ll give a third film a go as I’d like see a kid’s horror franchise prosper. So many young people will have this as their gateway inspiration to check out more of the genre. Its available now on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray for you to purchase from the Amazon link below!

Film 

Be careful what you wish for. With their after school junk business, best friends Sonny and Sam hope to find treasure in other people’s trash. But when cleaning out the old Stine house, they open a locked book that frees a supernatural nightmare- Slappy! Now, with the help of Sonny’s sister Sarah, they’re in a race against time to get the sinister dummy and all the creatures he’s brought to life back into the pages before he unleashes total pandemonium!

While not quite hitting the highs of the original, Goosebumps 2 still manages to hold steady on its own and keep the franchise afloat with a very quality family horror film. The film does well on its own without Jack Black, though a commanding presence like his is surely lacking and missed at times. That may be the only difference between the impact or better reception of the original film.

Jack Black IS in the film as R.L. Stine and the voice of slappy, but his part is minimal and more or less a glorified cameo. As an adult that follows movies and is up to snuff on production aspects, his participation almost takes you out of the film and feels a big shoehorned it. The final film feels as if it had a few options that were on the table, one route if Jack Black did free himself up to come back and one they could have gone if he wasn’t going to be able to make it. A kid isn’t going to notice these things, and his presence in any capacity is going to thrill them, so in a project like this one, its really not a big deal and more of a nit pick on my behalf.

This second venture into the scary books does well to set itself apart in telling something kind of unique while hitting all the notable things you would want to see being a fan of the first film. We get monsters both new and familiar and fun scenarios and twists that were enjoyed the last time out. The kids in the film also feel wholly to themselves and not cheap retreads to what we’ve seen before. They get to have some solid supporting adults in the form of Chris Parnell and Wendi McLendon-Covey.

If you’re looking for some good family watching popcorn munching all-ages horror/monster fun, then Goosebumps 2 is going to live up to the fun, meeting most of your expectations. Its doesn’t reach the successes of the first film but is a nice sequel that compliments and keeps the story afloat and manages to do some things well all on its own. The film has some good laughs, effects, scenarios, characters and monsters which is all you could really ask for it to do.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Goosebumps 2 (Haunted Halloween) arrives on 4K Ultra-HD as a 4K upconvert. The film was shot in 3.4K and finished with 2K digital intermediate master. While I wish modern films would all be shot in and finished in 4K, I don’t get up in arms about the upscaling a lot the time because many of them look pretty fabulous. Case in point, Goosebumps 2 looks pretty awesome and is an easy upgrade over the Blu-ray counterpart. Details are a bit more fine and the picture is more crisp. The CGI effects hold up quite well and you get much better blacks and a fun glow with many of the effects and clothing. Different scenes take on a new and more impressive feel than they do on the regular Blu-ray. This presentation is quite fun and I’m hoping they go back and do the first one on 4K considering how well this one turned out.

Depth:  Solid depth work here with good, open field kind of spacing that has a nice pushed back feel to the environments. Indoors in hallways and such also supply those types of offerings. Characters and creatures prove well rounded and move naturally with no motion distortions.

Black Levels: Blacks are very deep, natural and feature a solid saturation discerning between different shades and such. Details are pretty strong and shine through even some of the darker depths of the night. No crushing witnessed on this viewing.

Color Reproduction: Colors are very strong and burst quite well on a admirable palette. Many of the CG effects really have a nice pop to them as do some of the more flashy fabrics worn by character via stylish clothing or costumes seen in the movie.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and hold pattern from the start to the finish of the film. Facial features like make-up lines, lip texture, crow’s feet, dried dirt and more come through clearly from any reasonable distance in the image.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: Goosebumps 2 takes full of advantage of Atmos technology for a largely loud and impacting viewing. This is how its done. This track booms and flies all around your viewing area. Its fun and not the least bit exploitative. The film demands a lot and this track has no problem covering it. Its a well balance, layered and crisp mix that sets the bar for some of the most fun at-home viewing in 2019.

Height: The ceiling speakers are very active, yet used in a natural way that feels right with every bit of crazy action or natural transference.

Low Frequency Extension: The bass on this one really, really booms. Crashes, impacts, explosions, roaring and more brings the hammer down.

Surround Sound Presentation: They’ve really put together a fun mix that takes advantage of the fantastical in many fun ways. Swooping around the room, pulling out unique contributions from side or rear speakers and just overall making for a nice rolling and jumpy feature.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are crisp and ever present in the mix, usually cast center stage.

Extras 

Goosebumps 2 comes with the Blu-ray edition and a digital copy of the film. Bonus features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 2:19)

Gag Reel (HD, 2:37)

Thrills & Chills: The Making of Goosebumps 2 (HD, 9:56) – A sort of generic paint by numbers “Making of” featurette that does contain some ounces of nutritional material in a few of the interviews.

Meet The Monsters (HD, 8:32) – A nifty little look at who the monsters in this are and then a nice display of how they were brought to life and implemented into the film.

Science With Slappy – A 5-part educational series for kids that puts Slappy with a member of the cast as they do a real life science experiment based on part of the movie. Its a pretty neat addition.

  • The Scientific Method & Gummy Bears (HD, 4:15) 
  • Light It Up With Tesla Coil (HD, 1:36)
  • Static Electricity Ghosts (HD, 1:37)
  • What Gives Us Goosebumps (HD, :47)
  • Chemical Reactions & Slime (HD, 3:17)

Slappy-Oke Sing Alongs – Not songs from the movie, but made in relationship to things in it.

  • Take Me Out Of The Manuscript (HD, 1:37)
  • Where Is Slappy? (HD, 1:30)
  • Holiday Slappy-Oke: Slappy Spells! (HD, 1:14)

Junk Brothers – Call Now! (HD, 1:13) – A commercial for Sonny and Sam’s business in the film.

Slappy’s Audition (HD, 2:00) – Fun, fake audition tape for Slappy going for his own part.

Summary 

Goosebumps 2 (Why did they drop the subtitle “Haunted Halloween”?) does what it can and succeeds in delivering some solid entertainment to keep the franchise going and hold up to the level of quality established in the first film. Sony’s release has a top quality video and audio presentation to go along with some solid kid-friendly extras. One only hopes the first film will get a 4K release around the corner, but with the second film, at the right price, they’ve done pretty well.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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