A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R. L. Stine after the writer's imaginary demons are set free on the town of Madison, Delaware.
After moving to a new small town, teenage Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) meets the beautiful girl next door, Hannah (Odeya Rush). But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach's comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is revealed to be R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so strange - he is a prisoner of his own imagination - the monsters that his books made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts and they begin to terrorize the town. It's up to Stine, Zach, Hannah, and Zach's friend Champ (Ryan Lee) to put all the monsters back in their books.
The teenager Zach moves from New York with his widow mother Gale to Greendale, Maryland, where she will be the vice-principal of the local high-school. Zach is bored and upset and while bringing his cardboard boxes with his belongings home, he meets his gorgeous next-door neighbor Hannah that welcomes him. But soon her creepy father R.L. Stine threatens him if he gets close to his daughter again. Zach befriends the clumsy Champ at school and they schedule to go to a party together on Friday. However, Zach meets Hannah again but they are caught by Stine. Zach believes that Stine is an abusive father and he breaks in his house with Champ to seek out Hannah. When Zach opens a book in Stine's library, he accidentally unleashes a monster from the book. Soon he learns that the weird Stine is a famous writer of horror stories that keeps his imaginary friends that are monsters locked up in each book. But Zach released the evil Slappy that promises to bring havoc to Greendale opening all the books on the same time.
Moving to a new town can be harsh, especially for Zach Cooper. He quickly befriends his next door neighbour Hannah, despite the fact that her crazy father wants her safe from the outside world. Hannah's father is none other than Goosebumps author R. L. Stine who is imprisoned within his own wild imagination as his creations are actually real live monsters. He keeps them locked up in their individual manuscripts. Unfortunately, Zach unwittingly releases a villainous ventriloquist dummy named Slappy who intends to unleash an army of Stine's monsters in an attempt to get revenge on Stine himself. Now it's up to Stine, Zach, Hannah and Champ to send the monsters back into their manuscripts in order to save themselves and the town.
A teenager named Zach (Dylan Minnette) reluctantly moves from New York City to the quiet town of Madison, DE, where he quickly realizes that his reclusive new neighbor is in fact the horror author of the Goosebumps series. Zach learns Stine's identity when he is drawn to the writer's daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush), but soon discovers the dangerous secret inside their home -- the creatures from Stine's famous stories are real, and are kept locked away inside their original manuscripts. After an accident frees the monsters, Zach, Hannah, and their nerdy pal Champ (Ryan Lee) must work together with Stine to save their town from destruction..
Forced to start afresh with his widowed mother in the sleepy town of Madison, Delaware, unexpectedly, the unenthusiastic teenager, Zach Cooper, finds a welcome distraction in the person of Hannah--the cryptic next-door-neighbour, and daughter of the best-selling Goosebumps' author, R.L. Stine. Determined to unearth the well-guarded secrets of the Stines' house, Zach and his new best friend, Champ, boldly sneak in, only to come face-to-face with the spine-chilling and blood-curdling horrors confined in the reclusive writer's locked manuscripts. Now, to right the wrong and recapture the myriads of monstrosities running loose in the town, the unlikely quartet of defenders must summon up the courage to get really close to their worst fears, as Stine's malevolent creation, Slappy, is bent on revenge. Can they put an end to this frantic nightmare?
- Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) is reluctantly moving from New York City to Madison, Delaware with his mother, Gale (Amy Ryan). Arriving at the new house, he is greeted by the neighbor, a beautiful girl named Hannah (Odeya Rush). Her father, R. L. Stine (Jack Black) gruffly tells him to stay on his side of the fence.
In his room, Zach watches a video of the New York mayor paying tribute to his father, a fireman who was killed in the line of duty. The next day, he goes to his new school where his mom is the vice principal. At an assembly, his mom talks about tomorrow's fall dance. A kid named Champ (Ryan Lee) sits down next to Zach and awkwardly tries to chat.
That night, when Zach is taking out the garbage, Hannah walks up and startles him. He says he didn't see her in school, and she tells him that she's homeschooled. She asks him to take a walk with her, and she leads him into a forest. They arrive at an abandoned theme park, and they climb up to the top of a Ferris wheel. He tells her about his father, and she says that she never knew her mother, and her dad keeps moving her from town to town.
Back on the ground, they walk home, and Hannah's dad grabs her shoulder and orders her back inside. The next night, Zach hears a scream coming from Hannah's house. He runs over and is met by Mr. Stine, who tells him to go back home. He runs home and dials 911, and the police show up at Mr. Stine's door. Zach asks where Hannah is, and Mr. Stine says that she's staying in London with her mom. Another scream echoes through the house, and the cops force their way in. The scream came from the TV set. Gale apologizes and takes Zach home.
That night, Gale leaves to chaperone the dance, and Zach's aunt Lorraine comes over to babysit. Zach looks into the neighbors' window, and sees the silhouette of Hannah in the house. He goes to his room, shuts the door, makes a phone call and opens the window to sneak out. Champ meets him in the driveway, and they go over to the house together. After Mr. Stine leaves, Zach jimmies the lock on the cellar door and they walk in. He finds the floor covered with bear traps. Going upstairs, he finds a study with shrunken heads, voodoo dolls and a sarcophagus. On a shelf, he sees books bound in leather with locks on the front. Champ recognizes the titles as Goosebumps books. Finding a key, Zach opens up the book "The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena." Just then, a shadowy figure swings a baseball bat at Champ's head.
Zach pushes Champ out of the way at the last second, and then turns on a light. He sees Hannah standing there. She asks what he's doing in her house, but then notices the unlocked book. He picks it up to put it away, but it pops open. Suddenly, a fifteen-foot snowman appears, bounding out through a wall and running off into the forest. Hannah grabs the book and runs after the monster, with Zach and Champ running after.
Following the trail of destruction, they arrive at an ice rink. They see Hannah climb in through a broken window, and they follow. They find Hannah in the middle of the ice, still holding the book. They walk out to her, and candy rains down around them. They see a vending machine flying through the air toward them, and they scatter as the machine crashes down on the ice. Hannah tells them the only way to get rid of the monster is to suck it back into the book. As the monster runs toward her, she opens up the book, and it starts to get sucked in, but then lifts an arm and swats the book out of her hands. Hannah runs toward the book, but the monster slams his fist down, causing her to lose her balance and fall. Zach grabs a hockey stick and knocks the book across the ice. Champ gets on a Zamboni, and the monster chases him. It destroys the Zamboni with one blow as Champ jumps free and slides into the penalty box. The monster turns toward the other two, but they manage to slide into the box and shut the door. The monster pounds on the Plexiglas, and it starts to crack.
Mr. Stine shows up and opens the book, and the monster gets sucked in, turning into letters as it gets close to the page. He shuts the book and orders them all into the car. On the ride home, Zach goads Mr. Stine to reveal his true identity as the author of the Goosebumps series. Back at home, Hannah's dad tells her that they'll have to move again. Zach steps into the house, and Mr. Stine instinctively throws a candelabra at his head. His throw is wide, and Zach demands to know what's going on. Mr. Stine tells him that as a child, he had severe allergies that kept him indoors, and the neighborhood kids would taunt him and throw rocks at his window. He made up monsters that would terrorize the other kids, and one day they became real, leaping off the page. He says they're safe as long as the books stay locked. He and Hannah grab the books, and Zach finds "Night of the Living Dummy" on the floor with a broken lock.
They hear laughter, and see a living dummy named Slappy (Avery L Jones) sitting in the chair. Mr. Stine approaches Slappy with the book, but Slappy lights a match and sets the pages on fire. Slappy leaves the house with the rest of the books. Going to the kitchen, they find lawn gnomes popping out from everywhere. A gnome tosses a knife that just misses Zach's head. Another group of gnomes ties up Mr. Stine, and drag him toward the oven, which they have turned on. Frantically, the kids smash all of the gnomes, thinking they have won. But then, the pieces of porcelain fly back together.
They run through the basement, dodging the bear traps. The gnomes follow, but fall into the traps and get shattered. The group runs out, locking the door behind them. Outside, they find a pile of burned books. They drive around town looking for Slappy, finding only destruction everywhere. There's a thump on the hood of the car, and a tiny hand print appears on the windshield. The Invisible Boy climbs up to the roof, reaches in and grabs Champ. He lifts Champ up and starts slapping him. Mr. Stine hits the brakes, and Invisible Boy flies off the car. Driving onto Main Street, they find people frozen into statues. Zach tells Mr. Stine that if he wrote the monsters into life, he could write them out with a story where they were all captured. Mr. Stine says he can only write a story on his personal typewriter, or else it won't work. The typewriter is in a display case at the school. On the ride, Zach tries to talk to Hannah, but Mr. Stine puts his hand between them. Distracted, Mr. Stine doesn't see the people in the road, and runs into them and through them. They were ghosts. He drives into the leg of a giant praying mantis.
Speeding off with the mantis in pursuit, he drives into a supermarket parking lot and crashes into a parked car. The group runs into the store as the mantis smashes the car. Hannah tells them they can get to the school by cutting across a cemetery. They grab some chips and soda, and Hannah sees that Zach has a cut on his forehead. She dabs it with antiseptic. In the meat section, they see a werewolf gnawing on a steak. They try to sneak by, but the wolf hears them and starts running their way.
They all split up, and the wolf chases Mr. Stine. In the pets section, Zach finds a rubber steak and tosses it across the store. The wolf charges after it, and the group runs for the exit. The wolf sees them and resumes chase. Zach turns over a mop bucket, and the wolf slips and slides as they run out the door, slamming it shut behind them. The wolf breaks down the door, and the group finds themselves trapped in the back parking lot, with the wolf rapidly closing distance.
Suddenly, they see headlights, and a car rams the wolf, knocking it into a brick wall. Aunt Lorraine pops her head out. Zach tells her to go to the police station and have the cops meet them at the school. At the station, Lorraine finds only Slappy, and some aliens pop out and shoot her with a freeze-ray gun. The group walks across the cemetery, and Hannah gets her jacket tangled in the fingers of a statue. Zach helps her get free, but when the moonlight hits her, she starts to fade away. Zach realizes she's not a real person, just another character Mr. Stine created. Suddenly, a hand reaches out from the grave and grabs his ankle.
Zach gets himself free from the grip of a graveyard ghoul, but more pop out from the ground and give chase. The group runs to the back gate, and the kids get through. The ghouls grab Mr. Stine and pull him back, and the kids grab his arms. A tug-of-war ensues, and Mr. Stine kicks the ghouls in the face, causing them to let go. Making it to the school, the group sees kids dancing, and they look through the cases for the typewriter. Stine finds it, and tells the kids to warn the other students to barricade the doors while he writes. At the football field, Slappy gathers the monsters he already set free, and then unleashes the rest, saving one for the perfect time.
At the dance, Zach gets on the microphone and tells everyone there are monsters outside, and they have to lock the doors. At first, nobody takes him seriously, but when they look out, they see the mantis squashing cars in the parking lot. Everyone panics, but Zach tells them they need to barricade the school. He tells them to grab anything that can be used as a weapon. They grab mops and buckets, and various sports equipment. Then they put desks in front of the gym doors. Tiny robots with laser eyes break through, and twelve-foot scarecrows punch holes in the windows.
Stine furiously types out a story, and Slappy approaches. Slappy tells him that they share a consciousness since they are really the same person. Slappy says that if he stops, Slappy will let him live. When he refuses, Slappy slams the lid on his hands, breaking his fingers.
The kids find Stine, and they grab the typewriter and run into the storage room with the rest of the students and lock the door. The monsters bang on the windows. Stine sees a line of buses, and he says that if he can drive off in one, he'll lead the monsters away. Zach sees a tackling dummy in the corner and gets an idea. A bus drives off, and Slappy tells the monsters to kill Stine. The mantis catches up to the bus and kicks it across the road, causing it to crumple in a heap. The monsters approach the bus, and find only the tackling dummy inside. A ghoul sees a thread on the outside of the bus and pulls on it, causing the bus to explode.
Stine drives the kids away in another bus, dictating to Zach what to write. Stine knows that Slappy will find him wherever he goes, since they share thoughts. He tells them he needs to go to a place he's never seen before, to buy time before Slappy can find them. Hannah tells him to go to the abandoned amusement park. They all hide in a funhouse, with Zach typing as fast as he can. Slappy finds them, and unleashes the last monster.
The Blob pops out of the pages, and the group runs for the exit. Outside, the monster army is waiting for them, and the kids run to the Ferris wheel. Stine tells Zach that he can finish the book on his own. The kids climb up the Ferris wheel as the Blob eats Stine with one gulp. Hannah cries out, but Champ sees that he's still alive inside the body. The monster army starts climbing the Ferris wheel. Zach types out, "As the monsters converged, Zach closed his eyes, opened the book, and the monsters were swallowed back into the world of paper and ink, NEVER TO BE SEEN AGAIN. THE END!" The mantis gnaws at the bolts of the wheel, and it rolls off the base and sends them crashing to the ground.
The kids crawl out of the seat, and Hannah tells Zach to open up the book. Zach realizes that Hannah will also disappear. Zach grabs it and opens it up, causing all of the monsters to get sucked in. He grabs and holds Hannah as her body loses substance. As the Blob gets dragged along, Stine is able to free himself, but Slappy grabs onto him, trying not to fall into the book. Stine kicks Slappy, causing him to land in the center of the vortex. Hannah kisses Zach before getting drawn into the book. Champ shuts it, and the wind dies down.
Months later, the town is rebuilt, and the school reopens. Zach is now the most popular kid in class. He and Champ go into English class together, and a new teacher introduces himself. "Hello, my name is R. L. Stine," he says, noting that their regular teacher was still recovering from an attack by a mutant insect. Zach tells him that he really misses Hannah, and Stine tells him that she's still alive in their minds and hearts, and also down the hallway. Stine tells Zach that he might have written one more book. Hannah hugs Zach as Stine burns the book.
Stine finds his typewriter, and sees the keys move on their own, and on the paper appears, "The Invisible Boy's Revenge." He sees his scared reflection in a glass window, and next to it, a tiny hand print.