"Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween" is what 2015's well-intentioned but underwhelming "Goosebumps" should have been, telling a spookily fun and inventive story fit for an R.L. Stine novel rather than an overstuffed, greatest-hits mishmash. With no deeper themes to explore, director Ari Sandel (2015's "The Duff") and screenwriter Rob Lieber (2014's "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day") focus on amiably recreating the cliff-hanging blueprint of a middle-grade "Goosebumps" book. Setting the film on All Hallows' Eve—nay, building an entire plot hinging upon its namesake holiday—is the blood-red cherry on top. Slight though it may be, it's also involving, thoroughly atmospheric, and altogether satisfying.
Halloween is fast approaching in the idyllic town of Wardenclyffe, New York (home of the Nikola Tesla Tower), and 13-year-old Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor), best friend Sam (Caleel Harris), and Sonny's college-bound sister Sarah (Madison Iseman) are in for some especially big frights. While cleaning out a dusty, old mansion as part of their makeshift junk-removal business, Sonny and Sam stumble upon an untitled book nestled in a trunk. Once the pages are opened, ventriloquist's dummy Slappy (voiced by Jack Black) is unleashed, desperate to be accepted into Sonny's family. When the puppet doesn't get his way, he sets about wreaking havoc on Wardenclyffe by bringing Halloween to life. It's all a part of R.L. Stine's (Jack Black) unpublished—and unfinished—manuscript called "Haunted Halloween." How it ends will depend on whether or not Sonny, Sam and Sarah are able to save the day.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review