Goosebumps (2023) is a horror comedy series that follows 5 high schoolers who sneak into an old mansion and let some supernatural forces that endanger everyone’s lives unless they find a way to stop them. The episodes are streaming on Disney+.
Episode 1 recap: Say Cheese and Die
In 1993, Harold Biddle tragically died in a fire under strange circumstances. His house gained the reputation of being haunted over the years and was left abandoned until the present day.
Isaiah is the high school jock and one of the most popular kids in school. He’s best friends with James and is dating a girl named Allison. He’s also close friends with Margot, his next-door neighbor from childhood.
Margot’s father is Colin, the school guidance counselor who is always looking out for the children. He tells Isaiah that unless Isaiah can pass an upcoming history test, he will be on academic probation and won’t be able to play in the next football game.
Nathan Bratt inherits the Biddle house after he turns out to be the last remaining living relative of the family. Ben is the handyman working on the house, and he also happens to be Isaiah’s father.
Isaiah asks Margot for help on the history test. Allison is insecure about Margot and Isaiah’s friendship but she also has to deal with an online troll who scuppers her plan to have a big birthday bash.
Isaiah tells her that they just need a new location so he takes her and James to the Biddle house for the party since Nathan will only be moving in a few days later. Margot shows up early and Allison gets very annoyed with her.
The power goes out and Isaiah goes down to the basement to find the circuit breaker but finds an old Polaroid camera instead. He clicks a picture of Allison and then one of Marogot as the power comes back on and the party gets underway.
Nathan shows up to end the party early and everyone makes a break for it. Allison gets lost in the woods and sees the ghost of Harold Biddle before falling down a slope in fear. Isaiah finds her and notices that the picture he took of her predicted how she would look after the fall.
He looks at the picture of Margot and sees her choking in it which worries him. Margot goes to the vending machine the next day at school but her selection is switched somehow and she gets a peanut bar even though she is allergic to peanuts.
Luckily for her, Isaiah is nearby and he uses her EpiPen to save her. He rushes to James to tell him about the freaky stuff but James takes a picture of him and then leaves because he doesn’t believe him.
Isaiah sees himself on the football field writhing in agony and is terrified of playing in the game. He goes home to destroy the camera and tries to tell Margot but she doesn’t believe him.
The game day arrives and they have a great first half, but during halftime, Isaiah spots the camera in his locker and gets spooked. He gets the game underway and begins hallucinating, seeing the ghost of Harold Biddle, and ends up falling over and breaking his arm.
Nora Parker, one of the parents, notices something is wrong and asks to stop the game. She tries to tell Ben that Harold is back but he doesn’t believe her. Nathan is at home when he sees Harold’s spirit before he is possessed by it.
Episode 2 recap: The Haunted Mask
Isabella is barely noticed at school and doesn’t have the best life at home either. Her father is barely around and her mother has to be the strict one which has strained their relationship.
She was the troll who would always comment hurtful things on Allison’s social media but ended up going to the party at the Biddle house. While she’s there, she hears a voice from the basement calling out to her and finds a mask.
She puts it on and gains the confidence to walk around the party and have a good time. She takes the mask home and carries it with her to school the next day. Margot checks up on Isaiah and apologizes for not believing in him but he’s too bummed out about his injury.
Nathan wakes up on the floor of his home and realizes that he’s late for school. He doesn’t have full control of his limbs and when he goes to the washroom, he sees a reflection of Harold who tells him to help get revenge.
Isabella is shooting the football team’s practice with a drone and Isaiah asks her if he can see the footage of the game where he got hurt. She takes him to the AV room to check it out and when she returns. she sees Lucas Parker jumping onto her drone and crashing down to the ground with it.
The two of them have to meet Colin who tells Lucas that he’s going to have to pay for her expensive drone. Isabella is ready to forgive him but the mask tells her not to settle down. She goes on a tirade and insults Lucas and Colin in the process before apologizing for her outburst.
Colin visits Nora to tell her that her son Lucas needs to buck up. He and Nora seem to be very close. Nora tries to reach out to Isaiah about what he saw but Ben tells her to back off.
Isabella is compelled to put on the mask that night but it takes over her face, turning her into a goblin. She goes to Lucas’ place to attack him, but Margot and Isaiah show up just in time and save him.
Isabella goes back home and trashes the place but her younger brother sees her and calls out to her. She overcomes the power of the mask and pulls it off. She and her brother throw the mask into the river but Nathan fishes it out.
Isabella’s mother is going to meet some of the other parents at James’ house and takes her along. While Nora tries to warn the others that Harold is back, Isabella and James chat in the game room.
They are playing pool, but Isabella knocks a ball at James’ face, causing him to explode into yellow goo.
Episode 3 recap: The Cuckoo Clock of Doom
While they were at the party, James knocked his head against the grandfather cuckoo clock in the Biddle house. He later realizes that he’s stuck in the time loop and cannot leave the house.
He uses this to his advantage and learns more about the guy he has a crush on to woo him. When things finally go his way, he stops the clock and is able to leave the house.
When he gets back home, however, he finds a copy of himself. In fact, he finds several copies of him and they say that every time he ended a loop, he made a duplicate of himself.
They are evil copies who grab and dump him in an old mine while they take over his old life and cause trouble. When Isabella destroys one of his copies, she tells the parents what she saw, but another copy shows up and claims it was a prank gone wrong.
Isaiah and Margot are talking to one of the clones Isabella pops up from behind and destroys it. They share all the weird stuff they have been going through and realize that it is all connected to the Biddle house.
They try to talk to Nora about it and she tells Margot to ask her mother, Sarah, about it. Colin visits Nathan to talk about the party the kids had at his house. Nathan finds out that Sarah is Colin’s wife but they’re currently separated.
Isaiah, Margot, and Isabella follow one of the James clones to the old mine and run into a trap. Isaiah is reunited with the real James and they fight off the other clones before escaping with Margot and Isabella.
Margot calls her mother and as soon as she says that strange things are happening, her mother says that she’s coming back to help and they must not talk to anyone else about it.
The last James clone shows up in Nathan’s basement with a case and says that they found what he was looking for. Nathan opens the case but it is empty and he wants to know where the contents of it are.
Episode 4 recap: Go Eat Worms
Lucas Parker has been on a reckless streak ever since his father died. He keeps getting himself in dangerous situations, trying to emulate his old man who was a stunt enthusiast.
Colin and Nora are having an affair and discuss how wrong it is. When Colin drops Nora off at home in the morning, Lucas sees them and records the moment with his GoPro.
He also finds a glass eye in his shed when he parks his bike, and he carries it along with him. Colin talks to Nathan about his recent absences but Nathan brushes it off.
Lucas tells Margot that he has something important to show her back at his house. She had planned to tell her father about the strange stuff she and her friends had seen.
She changes her mind when he shows her the video of their parents kissing. To cheer her up, he reveals a tank of worms that he got at the Halloween party. He jokes about eating one but it forces itself up his nose.
He drops her off at home and runs into Isaiah before rushing home after feeling sick. That night, all of the worms from the tank crawl into Lucas’s body. When he wakes up the next day, he realizes that he doesn’t feel any pain.
He gets his bike and heads to the roof of the school. Isaiah notices him behaving weirdly and tells the others. They deduce that since he found the worms at the Biddle house, they must be connected to the strange stuff.
Lucas rides his bike off the room and onto Colin’s car. He dislocates his shoulder but sets it back without an issue. He tells Margot that he’s going to honor his father’s legacy and heads out.
Margot rushes to Nora and tells her what happened. Nora realizes that Lucas is trying to do the same stunt that killed his father. She reaches just in time and reveals that his father actually killed himself.
Lucas feels the pain of truth and expels all of the worms. As he’s having an emotional moment with his mother, the worms form up into a huge monster. Lucas says that it is after him and tells his mom and Margot to drive away as he leads the monster.
He heads to a sawmill where they destroy the monster by running it through a chipper. The others arrive to pick up Margot and Lucas while Nora stays behind to talk to the police. She tells them the whole truth and is taken to the psychiatric ward where Isabella’s mother watches over her.
Nathan goes to the sawmill and gets the eye, claiming that he will be reunited with the person he’s been looking for.
Episode 5 recap: Reader Beware
Nora isn’t able to convince anyone that she’s not crazy but she sees Harold in the ward, asking about “him”. Nathan stands outside the ward watching her.
Lucas heads to Margot’s house to stay with her and Colin while his mother is in the ward. He and Margot have a nice time talking to each other and forming a connection. Sarah finally shows up but when Margot tries to ask her questions, she says she cannot answer them yet.
Isaiah breaks up with Allison and talks to James about asking Margot out. He is worried about Lucas since they are staying together temporarily. Isabella shows up because Margot called a meeting to update them.
Margot and Lucas take the long way to Isaiah’s place and end up kissing each other. They get to the meeting and Margot tells everyone that her mother refused to answer any of her questions.
The next day at school, Nathan drops off a scrapbook with Margot and tells her to check it out because it has pictures of her mother. She finds out that whenever she goes through a memory within the book at its original location, she is directly transported into that memory.
She sees her mom talking to Harold and being friendly with him when they were in high school. Sarah visits Nora in the psych ward and finds out what Nora has been saying. She goes to Isabella’s mother’s office and tells her that she’s doing the wrong thing by keeping Nora sedated.
She tells the others about it and insists that she must go through the memories and find out where they lead. She sees a memory of Harold telling Sarah that he fears for his life but then Harold turns to Margot and says that she’s not leaving. She gets stuck and the others see the book turn to a page of the Biddle house.
They take her there so that they can go in and save her. Sarah runs into Colin at the hospital and he finally tells her about the affair. She visits Nora again and tells her that she must stop taking the medicine so that she can get out and together they can save their children.
Harold takes Margot back to his house on the night that he died. She sees several other figures there and wonders who they are. She finds herself in the basement just as the fire breaks out but her friends come in and save her.
They rush outside and then see the other figures come out with a case. It turns out to be all of their parents who were responsible for Harold’s death. They want to know the whole story and what was in the case, and Nathan walks out into the present to offer them an explanation.
- The brand of horror is perfect as there are moments for all ages to be afraid of. The accessibility and writing in the series are well-balanced and mature enough for a wide range of audiences.
- Weaving multiple iconic Goosebumps stories into one narrative while still giving them individual focus is very clever. The dialogues are also occasionally profound and mature.
- The special effects are very impressive. The mask, the worm monster, and the clone explosions are all very high in quality.
- The first five episodes have some wonderful performances by the lead cast and this teenager-led series. Highly relatable and humorous material for them to work with and audiences to enjoy.
Goosebumps season 1 episodes 1 to 5
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