Some scary stories stay with you for years. Director André Øvredal and writer/producer Guillermo Del Toro certainly captured that essence with their wonderful and amazing adaptation of the classic horror series “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark.”
“Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” takes place in Mill Valley, Pennsylvania, during the height of the Vietnam War. In 1968 Americana, small cities created comfort with rich history and traditions despite the turbulent times, but every town has its darkside. For generations, the Bellows’ family secret surrounding their dead daughter Sarah created a hypnotic horror mythos in local folklore. On Halloween, four kids visit the haunted Bellows’ mansion and soon discover Sarah’s supernatural storybook might make macabre more of a reality rather than a fantasy. Then again, a story can’t really hurt you…right?
For nearly 40 years, “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” was my generation’s literary version of “The Twilight Zone” and the horror story collection conjured creepy nightmares for countless children, especially with Stephen Gammell’s gorgeous illustrations tormenting us with their elegance. The movie fantastically recreates some of the most classic, creepy stories, but for some it might come across as a “Greatest Hits” compilation that’s watered down. This terrifically terrorizing film fantastically triumphs to deliver the goods as its title implies -nothing more and nothing less.
The harrowing horror and special effects can come across as detrimentally diluted, but there’s nothing wrong with being a gateway genre film for younger enthusiasts. After all, not every horror movie needs to be dripping with blood, gore and/or an R-rating to be good. Sometimes simple scares are what the doctor ordered and why campfires continue to be the perfect setting to tell terrifying tales. The eerie book brilliantly captured our imagination and absolutely makes it a double-edged sword with what works best for its adaptation. Some scary stories scar your soul while others are a mix of thrills and chills. The film goes for the latter and makes the most of its PG-13 rating.
Creating a single story that intertwines some of the most cherished and scary stories seamlessly was no easy task, but the rollercoaster effect entertains with a fun film experience. “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” is an exceptionally entertaining and exciting fun film horror fans of all ages will appreciate. Andre Øvredal and Guillermo Del Toro terrifically brought back to life an amazing assortment of classic scary stories to a new generation. The film delivers on its promise and certainly created some scary stories & images that will haunt you.
The film fantastically pays homage to classic Amblin adventure movies like “E.T.” and “The Goonies” while creating an entertaining, exciting movie much like “Super 8” with well-grounded characters. Taking place at the height of the turbulent 1960s, we’re able to appreciate Americana transitioning from innocence to the eruption of political upheaval making its way to small towns much like growing up and adjusting to adulthood. Undergoing the literal and figurative horrors of life, this film fits perfectly for a beautiful rite of passage and introduction to scary movies.
The natural scares and building tension throughout creates an amazing atmosphere. Any movie generating genuine goosebumps and scares without having to solely rely on over-the-top, obnoxious special effect/gore is worth watching. Overall, horror fans will have a blast being entertained for 108 minutes and although nothing is mindboggling original, there will be plenty of moments you will catch your breath and the scares shall send shivers down your spine.
2 ½ out of 4 stars
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