Film Review: Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

The Halloween season has started early with this month’s release of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Having read the books as a young girl, I was intrigued by the upcoming film and if I might say so bluntly: it did not disappoint. 

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark Poster

Set in 1968, in the backdrop of the Presidential Election, Scary Stories tells the tale of a group of teens who find themselves fighting ghost stories written by a ghost.

The tales are dark and disturbing, just like the books, and having an actual visual to show the monsters that haunted all of our dreams made my inner 5-year old cry in terror. 

As I said in my Anna and the Apocalypse piece about having a majority cast of nobodies, this movie gives us brand-new characters — not the new crop of Disney faces — to tell the story, which helped me connect with this gang of misfits.

Starring Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, and Gabriel Rush, these kids feel as relatable as ourselves, regardless of generation. The creatures themselves were grotesque and creepy as they did their thing, stomping around and slowly chasing after their victims, distorting their bodies into ungodly positions.

I can only commend the actors behind the prosthetics and make-up as director Andre Ovredal and producer Guillermo Del Toro didn’t want to use any CGI with making these characters because, and I’m paraphrasing here, it would take away the magic and creep factor of the characters — and they’re not wrong! 

I find that CGI can take away most of the ‘magic’ these days, but Scary Stories bucked that trend and went the old fashioned way with make-up and prosthetics to help bring the creepy monsters to life.

It was also refreshing to watch these kids do so many things right when compared to your usual ‘horror teen’ tropes (why are you running up the stairs!?!), but still losing various battles along the way. This gave Scary Stories a dimension that I feel most horror movies often don’t have.

Another thing that I really appreciated is despite it being a ‘kids film’, they don’t hold back. Things get pretty intense for awhile, and without spoiling anything, the sound of a crunch makes me want to throw up… which I almost did in the cinema.

Bottom line is that this is a fun film. Don’t take it too seriously, and you’ll have a great time! I do hope that there is a sequel, because there is so much phenomenal source material that, if done right, Scary Stories could become an incredibly solid franchise. 

By Elisabeth Joplin

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