I really wanted to like Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark but there were things that just didn’t jive with me. I liked it alright but it wasn’t something that I would actively recommend to friends let alone people that I don’t know. The way the story was told felt forced and it was like a pseudo-anthology. I say pseudo-anthology because it doesn’t really tell the stories as much as they just kind of happen. Its honestly kind of like the movie version of telling instead of showing.
It was directed by André Øvredal and it was written by Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman with story by Guillermo del Toro, Patrick Melton, and Marcus Dunstan. It stars Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Abrams, Dean Norris, Gil Bellows, Austin Zajur, and Natalie Ganzhorn. It also stars Javier Botet and Troy James as two of the monsters. Zoe Margaret Colletti, Gabriel Rush, and Austin Zajur have great chemistry and honestly feel like they’re great friends. I only recognized two of the non-monster actors and they were the two adult characters.
The plot focuses on the haunted book that belonged to Sarah Bellows. She is the source of the local scary story. You follow friends Stella. Chuck, and Auggie on Halloween night as they go trick or treating as well as getting revenge on local bully and town golden boy Tommy Milner. Tommy is actually on a date with Chuck’s older sister Ruth. The trio end up hiding in Ramon’s car at the drive-in. They end up taking Ramon to the Bellows House and Stella takes a storybook from the house. Tommy and Ruth catch up to them there.
The book that Stella took from the house is where all of the stories that happen during the course of the movie are written. They are written in blood by Sarah Bellows, who according to legend killed some kids then hung herself. Over the course of the movie the people that were in the house when Stella took the book are targeted by Sarah Bellows and the book. The group also slowly learns to truth behind the legend.
The production design is great, you get the feel of the late 60s. The costumes also really help with the feel of the movie. The CG effects in the movie vary greatly, sometimes they’re absolutely fantastic and barely notice them while other times they are so incredibly jarring that they take you out of the movie entirely. The practical stuff that they did in the movie is great. The monsters look incredibly creepy and are only enhanced the look of the monsters.
I know that there’s a sequel in the works with a lot of the same creative team coming back as well as the cast. If they do away with the pseudo-anthology aspect from this one and only tell one story I think it will be a vastly improved movie. If you’re a fan of the books you might dig the movie. I watched it on Showtime Anytime but you can rent or buy it on your preferred digital storefront or physically