Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

Rated 2.0

As in the original 2015 movie inspired by the books of R.L. Stine, three adolescents—a sister (Madison Iseman), brother (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and their pal (Caleel Harris)—accidentally release the author’s demonic ventriloquist dummy Slappy from the book where he’s imprisoned, and Slappy turns Halloween into an onslaught of real spooks and monsters. Sequels don’t come much lazier than this. Darren Lemke’s original story is recycled by him and Rob Lieber with new faces, a new setting and nothing else. Ari Sandel’s direction, like the script, is cursory. The novelty has worn off, and Lieber and Sandel offer nothing to replace it. It’s stupefyingly humdrum, with none of the first movie’s scares, laughs or charm. Jack Black returns as author Stine, but his role amounts to little more than a cameo.