Director – Andre Ovredal (Trollhunter, The Autopsy of Jane Doe)
Starring – Zoe Margaret Colletti (Mercy, Annie), Michael Garza (Wayward Pines, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1), and Austin Abrams (The Walking Dead, Gangster Squad)
Release Date – 2019
Rating – 4/5
Tagline – “based on the iconic book series”
When I was a kid, around the fourth grade, I discovered Goosebumps. I’ve mentioned this in several of my reviews but this was a turning point in my life at that point. Before then my life was Space Jam, Air Bud, and Heavyweights but when I found the Goosebumps books my life was forever changed. I started reading more and when I made my way through the Goosebumps books I ventured to more R.L. Stine books like Fear Street and so on. When those were depleted I turned to knock offs like Shivers. Before long I was diving deep in Appalachian ghost stories, Stephen King, and in middle school I crossed paths with Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
I don’t remember much about the book but I knew a lot people that loved it. When the movie adaptation was announced I didn’t jump for joy like many others but when I saw the first trailer I became curious. I slept on the theatrical release but when I received the press release for the physical release I jumped on it. I requested a review copy and after watching the film I feel stupid for not checking this out theatrically. It was highly entertaining.
**Spoiler alert**The film follows a group of outcasts in 1968 who often find themselves are the business end of the local bullies frustrations. After pulling a prank on the bullies for Halloween they flee and seek refuge in an abandoned mansion that has a notoriously morbid past. While inside they discover a book that once belonged to Sarah Bellows who is thought to have killed several children many years ago. When they open the book they find several stories written by Sarah inside but they are unaware that Sarah has many more stories to tell and all of them involve the group. One by one they go missing forcing those left behind to stop her before they all are taken by her evil creations.**Spoiler Alert**
There was a lot of hype for this film and most of you know that I typically enjoy bad movies and go against the norm. Movies that most enjoy I tend to dislike. Not to be a hipster or sound like a dick but I prefer stupid movies with absurd plots and cheesy characters but every once in awhile a movie comes along and floors me. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is one of those movies. I absolutely loved it and watched it several times since then.
The acting in this one is great. The Stranger Things craze opened the door for kid lead horror flicks and I thoroughly enjoy them. This cast may be young but they can act. They work great together and they do a phenomenal job in front of the camera. Their characters feel genuine and they go through a wide range of emotions. I really enjoyed the cast. The supporting cast is just as entertaining the as the leads.
The story for this one works on a PG-13 level. If you are looking for a horror film on the milder side that you can watch with your family that has some chills and suspense then I would recommend this one. It did remind me a lot of The Conjuring aimed at teenagers but I can’t comment on how much of the books made it to the screen. As I said earlier, I remember the book many years ago but I don’t recall anything from it. As is the movie is highly entertaining but those looking for how close to the book it is will need to check out another review.
Finally, this one is not bloody or gory but the creatures in the film are fucking fantastic. The use of visual and practical effects are top notch. The two work so very well together to make the beasts look fantastic. Overall, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a new Halloween horror flick that I just can’t say enough good things about it. The dark atmosphere and tension is perfect and the story weaved throughout creates a truly haunting film. I highly suggest picking this one up and adding it to your Halloween rotation.