Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
Based on the popular horror anthology for children, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a fun, spooky appetizer for tweens and teens, and those who remember what it was like, as they transition into horror. Set in 1968, we follow a group of marginalized teenagers who come across a haunted book that is literally writing vengeful stories with their names in them. The stories are plucked from the books and brought to wonderful life with ghastly impressive practical makeup effects that eerily mirror the illustrations by Stephen Gammel. I wouldn’t call the movie disturbing or gory or even overly gross, but it can be unnerving at times drawing upon the suspense of someone hiding and/or worrying about what is advancing without recourse. I had some quality squirming in my seat in this movie. It’s a simple yet effective formula that is played well by director André Øvredal (The Autopsy of Jane Doe). Even when the signature vignettes aren’t on display, I was enjoying spending time with the teenage characters and watching them try and navigate being different in a small town, feeling lost or misunderstood, and really trying to decipher some system of rules with the haunted book. It feels akin to a Final Destination where a small band of characters are doomed and have to out think their supernatural boogeyman before the next one is picked off. It’s just enough that the movie doesn’t feel like it’s losing too much momentum when we have to transition back to the original material after leaving the scary story stars, the monsters. This is an enjoyable throwback to 80s children’s movies that were allowed to be a little creepy, a little odd, a little spooky, and not so safe and mundane. It’s also a fun movie for your more macabre-enchancted youngin’s out there and older adults that remember being macabre-enchanted youngin’s themselves.
Nate’s Grade: B
Posted on August 10, 2019, in 2019 Movies and tagged book, guillermo del toro, horror, thriller. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.
I watched this movie recently, and I felt it was an overused storyline that felt half hearted. But I cannot deny that it did have its eerie moments of waiting, even though what came after the wait felt rather anticlimatic. The end, though, where the two leads shift into different times was definitely quite unnerving and made the movie not quite so bad for me.
Really liked reading another point of view on it! Thank you for sharing!
I have had friends all over the lace on this movie. Some love it, some were disappointed, so it’s hard to say. I had enough fun with it to look for more adventures, but I do have warm memories for the book series. I was that macabre-centered kiddo reading those stories.
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