The Big Picture

  • Goosebumps, a new TV adaptation of the popular horror novels for children, follows a group of high schoolers investigating the mysterious death of a teen named Harold, uncovering dark secrets from their parents’ past.
  • The trailer shows Nathan Bratt, played by Justin Long, moving into the supposedly haunted house and getting possessed by Harold’s vengeful spirit. The show has a serious tone with familiar horror elements.
  • The show seems to borrow elements from Stranger Things, Riverdale, and the It movies. It embraces the accessible tone of the Goosebumps books and tackles real-world themes like bullying. The series stars Rachael Harris and a talented ensemble cast.

From co-creators Rob Letterman and Nicholas Stoller comes Goosebumps, a new television adaptation of the popular series of horror novels for children written by R.L. Stine. The new series follows a group of five high schoolers on a “shadowy and twisted” journey to investigate the mysterious passing of a teen named Harold Biddle three decades earlier. This leads them to uncover “dark secrets from their parents’ past.”

The trailer opens with Nathan Bratt, an English teacher played by Justin Long, who moves into the house in which Harold was supposedly killed. Before long, Nathan seemingly gets possessed by Harold’s vengeful spirit, while the five central teenagers attempt to stop him in his tracks. Not as funny as one might imagine, considering the tongue-in-cheek tone that the franchise has historically embraced, the new Goosebumps series seems to be a teen drama with familiar horror elements, such as creaky old houses, a foreboding forest, and horrors from the past.

Long’s meta casting as a man who naively moves into a house with hidden secrets — he memorably starred in the horror film Barbarian last year — is easily the funniest thing about the show, not to mention a casual “nepo-baby” joke tossed by one of the kids in the trailer. More of that, please. The teens at the center of the story look like they have an easy chemistry, but the trailer also suggests that the show might not be afraid of tackling serious real-world themes, most prominently bullying. The Goosebumps books were always something of a gateway to horror for children, and the new series seems to be embracing that accessible tone.

Image via Disney+

The Show Seems to Be Borrowing from the Best

There are also obvious nods to shows such as Stranger Things and Riverdale, as well as the two It movies, whose popularity over the last decade probably enabled this reboot. The Goosebumps books, which have sold over 400 million copies worldwide in over 30 languages, were first adapted for television back in 1995. Letterman directed a moderately successful theatrical film adaptation in 2015; the movie starred Jack Black as Stine and grossed over $150 million worldwide. A sequel that involved neither Letterman nor Black — Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween — was released in 2018.

The new series also stars Rachael Harris (Lucifer), alongside newcomers Zack Morris (EastEnders), Isa Briones (Star Trek: Picard), Miles McKenna (Guilty Party), Ana Yi Puig (Gossip Girl) and Will Price (The Equalizer). The 10-part show will launch with five episodes on both Disney+ and Hulu on Friday, October 13. Subsequent episodes will stream weekly. You can watch the trailer here, and stay tuned to Collider for more updates.

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By asm3a