Monday, October 16, 2023

Goosebumps - Say Cheese and Die!

Inspired by the horror young adult novels from R. L. Stine, Disney+'s new series offers five stories of teens being haunted when a vengeful spirit is unleashed. Giving us boilerplate horror characters without much depth, our teens include the brash jock (Zack Morris), his mean girlfriend (Rhinnan Payne), his longtime female best friend (Isa Briones), and goofy sidekick (Miles McKenna). Taking advantage of a remodeled empty house for a party, one where their new English teacher (Justin Long) is about to move in and has unknowingly awakened the spirit of a high school student who died in the house 30 years earlier, our dumb kids are about to find themselves trapped in situations they can neither explain nor escape.

The opening episode gives us a brief prelude of the death of Harold Biddle (Ben Cockell) before jumping to the present and spending the rest of the episode with the children of Harold's contemporaries (who it turns out his has some legitimate gripes with). When not dealing with basic high school drama, "Say Cheese and Die!" involves our quarterback finding a haunted Polaroid camera in the basement whose pictures foreshadow danger to characters later in the episode.

The concept (some of which is taken from one of the original novels) is more goofy than scary, and you can hardly blame his friends for laughing at his wild accusations which, of course, he has no way to prove. However, as goofy as the concept is, it's a least more interesting than the paper-thin characters befitting the horror genre. While I'm not rooting for these kids to get taken out by our ghost, who is equally as bland, the series has given me no reason to root for them to survive either.

  • Title: Goosebumps - Say Cheese and Die!
  • IMDb: link

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