Writer's block is the least of R.L. Stine's worries in the new trailer for "Goosebumps," Sony Pictures' family-friendly fright flick based on the author's popular 1990s book series.
Rather than adapting one of Stine's many books, the "Goosebumps" movie, directed by Rob Letterman, functions more like a greatest-hits compilation or a mash-up, thanks to a meta-textual twist: Jack Black plays a fictional version of Stine in a world where the ghouls, ghosts and monsters he writes about are real, and he keeps them locked up (quite literally) in books as a protective measure.
Of course, it wouldn't be much of an adventure if someone didn't unwittingly let the creatures loose. And in true "Goosebumps" fashion, it's the new kid in town (Dylan Minnette), who is crushing hard on Stine's daughter (Odeya Rush). It's then up to Stine and the plucky kids to recapture the monsters, which include an abominable snowman, a werewolf, an army of evil garden gnomes and at least one giant praying mantis.
INDIE FOCUS: Sign up for our weekly movies newsletter
The film aims to be the kind of live-action family entertainment seldom seen these days. If it works -- a big if -- it could revive the genre and jump-start more such films. The thought is enough to give one, well, you know.
"Goosebumps" is set to open Oct. 16.