Director André Øvredal
Cast Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Austin Zajur, Gabriel Rush
Release Date August 9th, 2019
From director André Øvredal (The Autopsy of Jane Doe), Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is the feature-film adaptation of the horror children’s book series from the 1980’s. I have a vivid recollection of these books, and from the actual stories to the illustrations i always thought it was extremely creepy. My home from the jump has been that this movie would do the books justice, but it is certainly a fine line to balance considering the source material. I did really enjoy director André Øvredal’s horror film The Autopsy of Jane Doe, was he able to make me a believer yet again?!
Scary Stories to tell in the Dark was able to meet my expectations and in some ways even exceed them. I knew limitations would exist due to the PG-13 rating (it is based on “children’s books” after all), but it made the most of it. The bread and butter of the film is the costume design and the CGI, which tends to be the case in anything that Guillermo Del Toro attaches his name to. The acting is solid and most importantly it doesn’t do anything to take away from the overall value of the film.
Scary Stories to tell in the Dark is about as good as you can get when it comes to PG-13 horror movies, especially when they are based around a younger cast. Producer Guillermo Del Toro’s creativity is felt throughout which really helps the film come alive for fans of the books. The “monsters” are detailed and pretty damn scary, even though CGI is working overtime with most of them. I personally had plenty of nostalgic moments remembering a collection of books that continues to creep me out to this day. I was a little disappointed that the story that resonates with me most wasn’t in the film. I remember a story about a woman on a park bench that wore some soft of scarf or handkerchief tied around her neck. She ends up meeting someone who sits next to her and chats with her for awhile, eventually they ask her why she has that tied around her neck and she slowly begins to remove it and bam, her head falls right off her shoulders. Well I certainly wasn’t expecting that! Now sure that story wouldn’t have fit in the theme of the film necessarily, but I still wish I had seen it on the big screen. Instead the writers stuck with the stories that fit the general theme of the film and it worked.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a very effective horror film that should appeal to fans of the books as well as newcomers. Will you have nightmares for weeks to come? Probably not, but you will leave the theater satisfied and with a newfound appreciation for what was once considered a collection of children’s books. Also dare I say the collection of children’s books are much creepier than the movie because well, they are. Still, this is about as good an adaptation as fans could hope for. And people have a hard time figuring out why my generation is so screwed up, yet the writing is on the wall that’s all I am saying. Oh and it took a few days to get the face of Harold the scarecrow out of my head, that is one damn creepy ass scarecrow!! Recommended.