The new and reimagined Goosebump series has landed on Disney+—and millennials, this is the show you’ve been waiting for.
Based solely on the first episode, the series marries the nostalgia of the stories from our childhood with a modern take that’s also welcoming to any newcomers diving into the franchise for the first time.
The thrill factor is definitely there, with jump scares and unnerving moments sprinkled throughout, driving it home that the core audience being targeted is ’90s babies who grew up checking out Goosebumps books at their local library.
It’s not lost on me that the last time “Say Cheese and Die,” the 1992 book, was the focus of a TV episode, it was in 1996 and Ryan Gosling was a teenager, roughly the same age as the Port Lawrence teens are right now. Make ya feel old yet? It does, but it’s also quite refreshing that we can still watch a Disney show and feel like we’re not too old for it.
The plot of the series follows the plot of the book in that Isaiah (Zack Morris) finds a camera in the haunted Biddle house while he’s throwing a Halloween rager. He snaps a few photos of his friends initially thinking nothing of it, but the next day, he’s made aware of the eeriness surrounding the photographs when the new English teacher, Nathan Bratt (Justin Long), who is also the new owner of the Biddle house, brings him his backpack.
The photograph of his girlfriend Alison shows her lying in the woods—right after her creepy encounter with Biddle’s ghost, which is the moment when Isaiah came to find her. The second photo is of Margot, but it’s a moment that hasn’t happened yet. Isaiah heeds the picture warning, arriving in the nick of time as she’s having an allergic reaction to peanuts. The photograph predicted this moment, which sends Isaiah spiraling.
He calls his friend James for help, who isn’t phased by his ramblings. James snaps a photo of Isaiah, which makes him the next target as the photo reveals a painful accident during that night’s football game, one that’s very important to him because scouts will be in attendance and he needs a scholarship. He decides to destroy the camera that he found in the Biddle basement by smashing it and lighting it on fire, though he doesn’t seem to realize that the camera somehow survived the original fire that killed Harold Biddle.
He feels confident that he’s taken care of the situation, but anyone who knows a thing or two about being haunted knows it’s absolutely never that easy, and when Isaiah sees the camera, fully intact, sitting in his locker room, he begins to panic. He tells the team that the goal is to protect their QB at all costs, but none of that matters when Harold turns the whole football field into a fiery hallucination that only Isaiah seems to see, that is until one of the mothers in the stand, Laura, also realizes what’s happening. She tries to stop the game, but she’s unable to before Isaiah is brutally injured with a broken arm, just as the photograph predicted.
Isaiah’s parents inform him that his season is over, as are his chances for a scholarship right now as his recovery time is 6 to 8 months. Laura comes to the hospital to inform Isaiah’s father that she saw Harold on the field and that he’s back for revenge to make them all pay for what they did to him—with the revenge being taken out on the group’s teen children.
Harold also inhabits the body of Nathan, who is probably going to wish he never inherited this house in the first place, though, speaking as a millennial, the Biddle house is a Pinterest dream!
Throughout the episode, we get an understanding of all of the character’s personalities and relationships with Isaiah the popular football player who is dating Alison, a girl used to getting her way but who is very insecure and jealous of his friendship with his childhood friend Margot. And she should be because there are definitely feelings between Isaiah and Margot, they’re simply not acting on it just yet—and she doesn’t exactly believe Isaiah when he tries to warn her about the camera, so that’s a strike against her.
Overall, it was a solid premiere that was not only entertaining but set the stage for future episodes to come.
What did you think? Was the episode worthy of the Goosebumps label?
Is There Going to be a Season 2 of ‘Goosebumps’?
As Goosebumps wrapped up its first season on Disney+ on Nov. 17, things ended on quite a shocking cliffhanger, leading fans to question if a second season was in the works.
And it seems like season 1 is just the start as there are definitely plans to continue on with the series featuring the same cast, which includes Isa Briones, Ana Yi Puig, Zack Morris, Will Price, and Miles McKenna.
With the first chapter closed, a second chapter will explore the aftermath of Briones’ massive decision (you can read our review right here), but first, Disney+ needs to renew the season officially.
As of writing, Goosebumps has not been renewed for season 2, however, everything was created with the intention of there being additional episodes.
And naturally, since the series takes inspiration from the popular R.L. Stine novels, there’s the question of which books will be adapted next to explore the aftermath of Kanduu’s devious plan.
Disney released the first season ahead of Halloween, dropping the first five episodes all at once on October 13 before adopting a weekly release format, which kept up the intrigue.
Through the course of 10 episodes, fans created a special bond with the give teens trying to save their town of Port Lawrence from a tragedy that connected to their parent’s past and included their new high school teacher, Mr. Nathan Bratt played by Justin Long.
Once Disney renews the series and announces a premiere date (which can happen as the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes are over), we’ll update this post accordingly!
Goosebumps Season Finale Review – Welcome to Horrorland (110)
The season 1 episode 10 finale of Goosebumps gave literal goosebumps, ending on a rather shocking and game-changing cliffhanger as the Disney+ series awaits a second season renewal.
I was actually surprised to learn that there were even plans for a second season as I thought this was more of a limited-series scenario, however, the cliffhanger was compelling enough—and I realized I’ve developed a fondness for the characters—that I was excited at the prospect of more.
Goosebumps managed to do something that’s quite rare—it reinvented itself over the course of 10 episodes. Biddle storyline is now a distant memory, Slappy’s backstory has been revealed and explained, and now we’re finding ourselves invested in the outcome of Margot’s jaw-dropping decision and Nathan Bratt’s second possession.
With a full-fledged franchise backing the series, there’s no shortage of source material, but there are also plenty of stories left to tell when it comes to the five teens.
Throughout the season, much of what was happening to them was a result of other people’s misguided actions—their parents initially with Biddle’s death and then Mr. Bratt’s decision to bring Slappy back to life for selfish reasons.
But that all changed now that Margot made the conscious decision to save Isaiah’s life using the same incantation that started this whole mess in the first place, filling the crevices of Port Lawrence with a darkness that connects all the way back to the 1800s.
The episode broke everything down in tangible terms, introducing a villain much more sinister and menacing than Biddle, but one that was here all along as his darkness inhabited Slappy and thus manipulated Harold Biddle into doing his evil bidding.
The man who rose from the grave following a moment of weakness and desperation from Bratt was Rupert, later known as Kanduu, a soldier who would have been killed on the battlefield during a war if he hadn’t found shelter in a temple and uttered the incantation engraved in the walls, healing himself in the process and absorbing the dark energy that fueled his rage to raise the true horrors—ghosts, monsters, curses, etc—to make mankind pay.
His journey took him to a small town where he found Franz Mahar, a puppet maker and Bratt’s great-great-grandfather (keeping it really in the family here), whom he used to lure in people that he then turned into puppets for his ritual.
When Mahar realized that he made a huge mistake (a deal with the devil of sorts), he had the common sense to use one of Kanduu’s spells against him, banishing him into the body of Slappy, and thus kicking off the dummy’s reign of terror that we saw pan out in the first nine episodes of the horror-series based on the popular ’90s franchise.
IRL Slappy is much more terrifying than puppet Slappy, not to mention he’s able to do quite a bit more damage by essentially showing the people in town what they want to see before turning them into dummies, including all of the teens’ parents and Lucas.
My guess is that because of everything that the group has been through with Slappy, they were able to see through Kanduu’s charade, so he was unable to turn them before unleashing his longtime plan on the word. In his mind, he’s doing this for the greater good to rid the world of the horror people created on their own, including wars, but Margot blatantly calls him out for trying to justify what’s doing by punishing the world for what he’s been through.
It’s all a little convoluted—Kanduu’s purpose for wanting to raise hell on Earth falls flat, and essentially, he just wants to be evil. And we’ll take it, solely because of what happens once they destroy Kanduu using one of his own spells, undoing all that he’s done, and sending him back to where he belongs.
In his final moments, Rupert manages to fire his gun in Margot’s direction, just as Isaiah jumps in front of her, taking a bullet for the girl he just professed his love for mere hours ago.
All of the townspeople, including the parents, are awakened from the trance and immediately rush to Isaiah’s side before the next scene shows the doctor delivering the bad news to them in the hospital—there’s nothing more that they can do for him besides keep him comfortable.
It’s rare that a show willingly kills off its own protagonist (or one of them) unless there’s a bigger plan in place, which was the case when Isaiah takes the bullet for Margot. His near-death wasn’t in vain, as it pushed Margot to go somewhere she was too afraid before and admit that she’d been in love with Isaiah for years. And this is why you should always tell people how you feel when they are still conscious.
Her feelings for him are so strong, in fact, that she decides to risk it all and reads the incantation, fully knowing just how dangerous it was and how many problems it caused in the first place. There’s nothing you won’t do for love, right?
Isaiah immediately shoots up, very much alive, while Bratt, who is still blaming himself, goes to the bathroom and sees Kaandu’s reflection in the mirror as he mutters, “Not again.”
At this point, the responsibility for all that’s been happening shifts from the parents and Bratt solely onto Margot, and by association, the teens, who will undoubtedly back her up in what she’s done but will also have to face the consequences, whatever they may be.
Will Isaiah be a completely different person? Will he be possessed by the evil juju? What’s with Kaandu’s return?
How will they undo this while also sparing Isaiah’s life?
And can’t anyone catch a proper break?
As far as finales go, this one was superb, finding the right mix of mystery, courage, risk, friendship, and romance, though I do hope that come season 2, we’re allowed to explore the other characters as deeply as we’ve gotten to understand Isaiah, Margot and Lucas. Isabella and James provide the levity as comical sidekicks—and I cackled when she said she knew something was wrong because her mom said it was “nice” to see her—but they definitely have main character energy that isn’t being tapped into.
What did you think of Goosebumps Season 1?
Feeling merry and bright? Read our review of ExMas here.
Goosebumps Season 1 Episode 9 Review – Night of the Living Dummy: Part 2
And just when we thought Slappy was as bad as it gets, the dummy’s soul transferred into a previously deceased body intent on unleashing all on Earth… or, at the very least, disaster in the form of ravaging fires, as witnessed in a vision by Nathan Bratt, who went through with reading the incantation regardless.
Bratt seemingly learned nothing throughout the course of this season, even after his body was used as a vessel by Harold Biddle’s vengeful spirit. He saw firsthand the evil effect that Slappy had on Biddle, and yet, in a time of desperation, he not only found Slappy, but read the spell that revived him and then went through with another one to bring one of his ancestors to life, who then proceeded to turn Isaiah’s dad, Ben, into a puppet.
And all because Nathan couldn’t let it go. Goosebumps Season 1 Episode 9 had me feeling sorry for Nathan at first, especially when we saw his backstory depict the extent of his loneliness and financial woes, but as the episode progressed, I understood why he had no friends.
His desire to get a novel published based on what happened to him (aka the plot of the series) and become the next Stephen King was so strong that he threw caution to the wind without even considering the consequences or repercussions. Slappy gave him an ending alright, but the ending doesn’t matter if the world is burning and no one is around to see it.
Bratt wanted to capitalize on what he went through, which is fine, even understandably, but you’d think an English teacher would be better positioned to use his imagination to come up with an alternate ending rather than to live through the horrors once again.
He, however, wasn’t the only one who couldn’t simply shake what happened to him as Lucas was also struggling in the aftermath. While all the other soon-to-be seniors were thriving after getting a second chance at life, he was in a constant state of worry, and it took a toll on his relationship with Margot.
Margot was considering moving to Seattle after her mother left town and offered her a place to stay, but that didn’t jibe with Lucas, who made up his mind to stay in Port Lawrence, close to his mom, and eventually take over the family business.
I can’t say I’m too distraught by this breakup because I’m rooting for Isaiah—and while Isaiah tried to be supportive to Margot throughout, he was clearly happy that she was single again. I would’ve hoped that their brush with death would’ve made everyone more upfront with their feelings since you never know how much time you have left, but Isaiah hasn’t been honest with Margot just yet. And speaking of romantic relationships, Isabella continued to crush on Isaiah, though she didn’t say a word about her feelings to him either.
This group is bonded by shared trauma at this point, and though they may think that it’s safe now that they’ve defeated Biddle’s spirit and can let the guard down, as we now know—and they soon will too—that couldn’t be further from the truth. Since Bratt couldn’t let it go, Slappy’s reign of terror was only the beginning of the menacing plan in motion.
The episode felt mostly like filler and padding for the final battle to come, with too many scenes that didn’t serve the overall purpose—like the parent’s dinner or the whole getaway to Seattle, right down to standing in line for overpriced donuts. I was happy that Goosebumps episode 8 wasn’t the finale since there was so much that needed to be addressed character development-wise, but the following episode wasn’t able to keep up with the pacing of the former episode, and thus, it would’ve probably done best if condensed into one longer episode, meshing 9 and 10 together for optimal enjoyment.
How will Mr. Bratt handle the situation moving forward? Will he call the teens for an assist? Can they just kill someone who was magically returned from the dead?
Will the parents get involved since they know the most about Slappy? And is Ben’s dad permanently dead? Because that would just be heartbreaking.
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