Despite recently doing strong work in 'Bernie,' Jack Black's career has been on the kind of gradual slide that makes a TV star. People stopped turning up in their droves to his madcap comedies and somewhat, as a result, he started doing more challenging work.


Black is firmly part of the furniture in this generic, but fun caper that's based on the series of young adult books by R.L. Stine from the 90s.


Black plays Stine, who doesn't take too kindly to his new teenage neighbour Zach (Dylan Minnette) playing googly-eyes with his sheltered daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush). Zach has moved to the small town from the big city with his Mother (Amy Ryan) and naturally this appeals to Hannah as her aul lad is a bit on the protective side.


Feeling something is off about Stine, Zach investigates further and finds that his stories can magically come to life. Which they do and proceed to cause havoc in said small town.


While you've seen this type of film before on more than one occasion (Jumanji is the obvious comparison), there's a certain charm at play here that will appeal to the more imaginative youngster in your life. Black gets to ham it up by voicing a couple of the book characters and there's a hint of an underlining darkness that will remind older audience members of Gremlins. 


Not bad.