Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is the new horror thriller from director Andre Ovredal and producer Guillermo Del Toro. The film is based on the popular 80s novels by author Alvin Schwartz that terrified children for decades and surprisingly even terrified me while I was watching (especially the Scarecrow)!! Get ready for a fun, spooky summer flick!
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is directed by Andre Ovreal - his most recent film being the Autopsy of Jane Doe. This film for me felt like two different films almost with the scary stories being one main story to tell from a filmmaking standpoint and the actual story of the children being the second story. This is where the half rating comes from. I felt at points that I was watching two different films when we had a scary story and then it was followed by more story progression. The scary stories were amazing, and the direction and cinematography added to the terror. However, the character's storyline was very meh in my opinion.
The plot of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was good enough to keep me engaged, but again, the mini stories within were what really stole the show. As expected, considering it’s based off an anthology series, the scary stories were great mini stories and I enjoyed them greatly while usually just praying for the next scary story to start as soon as possible! The main plot I found to be enjoyable but very average. Maybe with a little more backstory on the characters I’d care a little bit more about them, but with plot points being revealed a bit too late in my opinion, it really came down to not caring about the characters that made me stop caring for the main plot.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
As mentioned in my review of the plot, the characters were very weak for me. They were two-dimensional and lazy. Targeting their fears provides a layer of development but not enough for me to feel like they were real. The acting was well done though, as they are dealing with a script that I felt needed a bit of work, but I was amazed that they managed to make it work without it coming out very awkward. This is especially true for the main girl, Zoe Margart Colletti. She was amazing, and I look forward to what else she will do. My final complaint comes to when they lose their first friend to the scary stories. They all continually say he is dead, and I know shock exists but in 14-17 year olds I would expect more crying. They all sat on the rock and had a few tears and moved on. It really rubbed me the wrong way.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
There was a couple of times during Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark that I felt the score helped build the anticipation and terror. However, I also found it to be very average and simplistic. I wasn’t blown away by the music choice either, with Season of the Witch being one song they played multiple times throughout. It’s very typical Halloween movie music.
The special effects were pretty well done in my opinion for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The monsters that the characters run into were creepy and semi-realistic (some of the fear comes from some monsters not looking realistic at all). However, as a viewer keep in mind that this is 14A (PG13) so you may not get something hyper-realistic, but I was pleasantly surprised by how creepy they actually got. Especially when it came to the Scarecrow scene they did a great job on the effects for that story!
While this film is receiving a half review from me, I actually can’t recommend it enough. Yes, it has its issues when it comes to a lot of the technical standpoints, but it’s very fun and the scary stories in the middle will fill you with nostalgia for the books (if you’ve read them) or remind you of what it was like to be scared when you’re young.