TV Review: “Goosebumps” is a Delightfully Horrifying Interwoven Story Based on the Beloved Book Series

Viewer beware. The beloved book and television series is back thanks to Disney+’s and Hulu’’s reboot of Goosebumps. The nostalgia-driven new series welcomes us back to the classic nightmares with a modern retelling perfect for this time of year.

Inspired by R.L. Stine's worldwide bestselling book series, Goosebumps follows a group of five high schoolers as they embark on a shadowy and twisted journey to investigate the tragic passing three decades earlier of a teen named Harold Biddle – while also unearthing dark secrets from their parents’ past.

The biggest takeaway from this new series is that it absolutely does the franchise justice. Fans of the book series will enjoy seeing all of their favorite stories brought to life once again, including “The Haunted Mask,” “Say Cheese and Die,” “Cuckoo Clock of Doom” and more. And not only are these stories brought back, but they are done incredibly well, staying true to the original concepts while modernizing them to maintain the same level of terror they delivered in the ‘90s.

And on top of that, perhaps the best part of the series is how it brilliantly weaves all of these stories together from one episode to the next. Characters experience their own personal nightmares before their stories become a part of something much bigger. Before you know it, you’re wrapped up in an interwoven story that ties each episode together and brings each character into one collective nightmare.

It helps a great deal that this series has a number of immediately likable characters. Both the teens falling victim to this horror story and their parents and teachers who seem to know more than they’re letting on, can get the audience invested in their own ways. There are a lot of great characters in a lot of different roles in this series and just about every one of them has an interesting story to tell in order to keep the audience invested.

Of course, that wouldn’t be possible without some great performances. Ana Yi Puig, Miles McKenna, Isa Briones, Will Price and Zack Morris deliver compelling performances as the teens at the center of the story. Rachael Harris and Justin Long also deliver as the adults with ties to a horrifying past that has come back to haunt them.

The series also delivers a perfect balance of horror and comedy. It’s certainly not the scariest thing you’re going to watch this Halloween season – it is streaming on Disney+ after all. However, it absolutely delivers plenty of jump scares and some incredibly creepy moments. It is also going to get quite a few laughs, thanks mostly to its impressive young cast.

There is also a surprising amount of emotional storytelling throughout this series. The show takes on some much heavier themes than most would anticipate and handles them very well. There are some truly heartfelt moments and maybe even some tear-jerking ones.

Overall, Goosebumps is the perfect family friendly(ish) series for this Halloween season. It delivers some good scares while not going to far and mixes in some laughs as well. It also tells a very and intriguing story that will have you hooked from beginning to end. If you were a fan of the books or the original television series, you will definitely enjoy this new reboot. And like it or not, you’re in for a scare.

Goosebumps debuts with a five-episode premiere on Disney+ and Hulu on October 13th.

Mike Mack
Mack is the Editorial Director for Marvel and ESPN content and he has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed "nerd."