Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a film based off of the books written by Alvin Schwartz. It weaves several stories from the books into the film, however is it effective or not?
I read the books when I was a kid so I was very excited to hear that they were making a movie based on them. I wasn’t sure how they were going to execute it since it is just a plethora of short stories. They decided to go the route of a group of kids finding a book that basically tells their “scary stories”. The main positive aspect of the film is how all of the creatures and monsters look. They didn’t try to change how they looked from the original drawings and I really appreciated that. If you haven’t read the books before then I could see how you would think that the monsters look weird, but if you have read the books then I think you will very much appreciate just how accurate they look. The next positive is that there were some fairly good performances by the children. The two main characters, Stella and Ramón, were played by Zoe Margaret Colletti and Michael Garza. Their performances were by far the best of the group and they were great choices for the lead.
The one mixed aspect that I had with the movie was the execution of the plot. They picked a very simple concept to deliver these stories with the children finding a book. While I think the concept is okay, I don’t think they executed it very well. I found myself constantly waiting for the next monster to be revealed instead of actually being invested in the plot. That was a slight problem for me as they probably could have found a different and better way to deliver the stories.
The main aspect of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark that I disliked was the ending. They did a terrific job of building up tension, but then at the end that all went away just so they could have a chance for a sequel. I wish that they could have just developed a movie that didn’t need to become a franchise. I would have rather have seen a definitive ending that would have left me satisfied, rather than making me wait another two years for a film that I’m not craving that much. I also had a slight problem with the PG-13 rating of this film. There were some things in this that I could not imagine any kid seeing. There were scenes that were just outright gross so I’m not sure how this didn’t earn an R rating. After watching Annabelle Comes Home earlier this year I was surprised that it had an R rating as I felt a 13 year old kid could have easily watched it. However, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark felt a lot more dark and plainly gross, so I think it had somewhat of an identity crisis in what type of audience it was trying to attract and it probably should have garnered an R rating.
In the end, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was a very nostalgic film that had some problems. It delivered in some aspects, but definitely disappointed in others. I would still recommend this film to those who have read the books, and even to people who aren’t usually into horror movies.
Rating- 6.5 out of 10 on the scale of awesomeness.
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