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The Student News Site of Gretna High School

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Review: Give Yourself ‘Goosebumps’

Newly Released TV Series Draws Attention
Official movie poster
The TV series “Goosebumps” (2023) was released on Friday, Oct. 13. Five high school students look for answers when inconceivable things start to happen in their town.

You can call it a reboot or an adaptation, but I would call the newest addition to the “Goosebumps” franchise a revival. The release of “Goosebumps” is bringing life back to R.L. Stine’s best-selling novels that once captured the attention of an entire generation.

Fittingly released on Friday the 13th of this month, this series is the exceptional reworking of a childhood favorite. It has a special way of incorporating original “Goosebumps” stories while also mixing in a new storyline with a haunted house and the mysterious death of a teen named Harold Biddle.

The opening scene begins with a loud knock on the front door, and Biddle carefully answering it. The same scene ends with him being burned alive in the basement of his own home. Three decades later, five high schoolers work to uncover the secrets behind not only his tragic death, but also their parents’ dark past.

“Goosebumps” has a perfect balance of comedy and horror, and while most of the show is dedicated to genuinely scary scenes, there are really hilarious, sarcastic moments that fool you into thinking you are safe from another jumpscare.

One scene that forced me to peek through my fingers was when the high school quarterback was getting pumped up for the second half of a crucial football game. He returned to the field and saw Biddle standing on the other end. The play began, but he was frozen in fear. When he finally broke out of it, he ran from the horrifying figure until he fell, resulting in a horrific injury.

Putting their own twist on it, the directors brilliantly chose to do something other live-action variations of “Goosebumps” have not done before: intertwine several short-stories and allow the characters’ and villains’ lives to do the same.

“Say Cheese and Die,” “The Haunted Mask” and “Night of the Living Dummy” are just a few titles of the already released episodes, which are taken directly from the original “Goosebumps” books and ‘90s TV show. Each episode so far has incorporated a different storyline from Stine’s novels, whether it be a mysterious camera that can predict tragedies, a cuckoo clock that warps time or a scrapbook that takes their readers on an eerie adventure.

Each storyline introduced a new character and gave the audience a chance to understand the personal struggles that they are going through. As the episodes progress, it is easy to root for and take the side of the main characters, and it is also clear that the directors intended to give them relatable backgrounds and problems.

While the target audience is wide, every viewer can either relate or sympathize with the modern, believable struggles that each episode includes. One character in the series, Lucas Parker, portrayed by Will Price, is a high school student facing parental death and when he uncovers a disturbing fact, and he understandably does not cope well.

Another character, Isaiah Howard, played by Zack Morris, is a popular, talented student-athlete being pressured by his parents to get a full-scholarship and support his family. Other problems and themes referenced are the generation gap, social media, cashless societies and bullying.

Although you wouldn’t expect it, I think many teens who tune in to watch this show will be able to find comfort in the characters and their struggles. Hopefully in the process, it can also drum up some well-deserved attention for the “Goosebumps” books that consumed kids almost three decades ago, and the ones that are yet to be released.

There are more action-packed episodes of “Goosebumps” to come, with a new one being released every Friday until Nov. 17. You can find this comedy-horror streaming on Hulu and Disney+.

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About the Contributor
Mary Jane Kushiner
Mary Jane Kushiner, Editor in Chief
Mary Jane Kushiner is a sophomore at GHS and this is her first year with Gretna Media. She serves as a reporter. She is interested in journalism because she loves writing and reporting. Her favorite thing to write are feature stories. Besides being in journalism she likes to read and spend time outdoors. 

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