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.
Shortly into the movie we learn that Zach Cooper has lost his father. There is a small part where he watches an old home video of his dad and himself playing baseball. It’s not brought up often that his father is gone. Champ thinks something horrible has happened to his father at a point in the film but realizes the man who was frozen is not his father. This is played for laughs. There is a part late in the film where Zach talks to another character about how it feels to have lost someone.