Episode 7 of “Goosebumps” is the best of the season so far, with laser-focused storytelling and a sense of playful adventure.
Now things are getting exciting. In episode 7 of Goosebumps, it seems as though with all of the exposition complete, all of the characters in place, all of the supernatural threats established, business has been taken care of and the creative team can have some fun. Episode 7 is the best episode of the series so far. The episode has a sense of playful adventure, an understanding of how to create and maintain suspense, and clearly defined goals for the characters, generating a burst of forward propulsion that had been sorely missing from the rest of the series.
Episode 7 of Goosebumps finds our Scooby Gang of teenagers trapped in an alternate dimension of the haunted Biddle house, one suspended in a vast, pitch-black void. Also trapped in the house is the true Mr. Bratt (Justin Long), abandoned as Harold Biddle runs around Port Laurence in his body. After the teens determine that it is Mr. Bratt and not Harold, in a fun sequence, the group set about trying to find a way out of the Biddle house.
The characters spend episode 7 in near constant motion, unable to escape the looming threat of Harold’s machinations and frantically searching for a way out of the house. The concise, focused quality of the episode 7 is in sharp contrast to the bloatedness of the earlier episodes, and provides the season with a jolt of energy, like a shot of adrenaline in the arm.
As the group tries to find a way out of the alternate dimension there’s a thrill similar to that of 80s adventures geared toward the youth, like The Goonies, Ghostbusters and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Young kids watching Goosebumps may find themselves unnerved by certain images, such as an auditorium full of ventriloquist dummies, or the existential dread of getting trapped in a limbo.
Like the characters, Goosebumps is stuck in a limbo, caught between YA horror and teen soap opera. It spent a lot of time in the first six episodes trying to emulate the tone of other works – Stranger Things, Riverdale, CW’s Nancy Drew, Twin Peaks – that it struggled to find its own voice. With episode 7, Goosebumps finds a tone that works: a teen adventure, with a game ensemble, knowingly goofy lore, thrills, humor and light scares.
Episodes 7 of Goosebumps will be available to watch on Disney Plus from October 27, 2023.