*SPOILER FREE* The once controversial and deeply disturbing stories and images that all gave us nightmares when we were kids has made its way to the big screen to scare a new generation.
“Scary Stories to Tell in Dark” is a series of three collections of short horror stories for children, written by Alvin Schwartz and originally illustrated in nightmare detail by Stephen Gammell.
The stories and images used to scare me so much I had to sleep with a night light for, like, a whole month.
When I first heard about the movie adaptation, I was skeptical until I heard Guillermo del Toro was one of the producers and story writers for the film.
In my opinion, he was a perfect choice for a producer and has to be one of the best filmmakers of this century ... but moving on.
The movie is set on Halloween night in 1968 and follows three teenagers in the small town of Mill Valley, Pennsylvania – horror-obsessed amateur writer Stella (Zoe Margaret Colleti) and her friends Auggie (Gabriel Rush) and Chuck (Austin Zajur) – who play a prank on school bully Tommy Milner (Austin Abrams) then evade him with the help of drifter Ramon (Michael Garza).
The group decides to explore a local haunted house which belonged to the Bellows, a family who helped found the town. Inside, they discover a secret room and a book of scary stories belonging to Sarah Bellows, the family’s strange and disturbed daughter.
Stella takes the book and awakens Sarah’s spirit, causing the stories in the book to come alive and attack the group.
While it is nearly impossible to fit every story from the three collections into one movie, the director (André Øvredal) and producers chose great stories such as “Harold”, “The Big Toe”, “The Pale Lady”, “The Red Spot”, “Me Tie Dough-ty Walker” and “The Haunted House” as well as featuring the tune “The Hearse Song.”
One of the standout aspects of the film is the incredible special effects.
The producers were able to recreate the monsters straight from the illustrations in the books. It simply looks like the incredibly terrifying pictures just crawled out of the book and onto the screen.
The young up-and-coming actors executed their roles to perfection and kept the audience in continued suspense.
The plot meanders at times, but never enough to take you out of the horrifying film.
As far as scare factor, I would give it a six out of 10. Some critics wanted the movie to be scarier, but I think the directors were targeting a specific audience, specifically young teens and kids, which is why it was released with a hard PG-13 rating. But this does give youngsters a pretty intense introduction to horror films.
Keep in mind, the books were targeted for children, and, now, I believe the film aims to do that as well. The generation that read these books are now adults and no longer kids.
Overall, I think it’s a great film made with an awesome cast and gruesomely-detailed creatures that will keep you on the edge of your seat and up at night.
End your summer right by watching “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.”