SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK (2019)

Directed by: Andre Ovredal
Written by: Dan Hageman & Kevin Hageman
Screen story by: Guillermo Del Toro, Marcus Dunstan & Patrick Melton
Based on the series of stories by: Alvin Schwartz 
Cinematography: Roman Osin
Editor: Patrick Larsgaard

Cast: Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Abrams, Austin Zajur, Natalie Gamzharn, Dean Norris, Lorraine Toussaint, Gil Bellows 

On Halloween 1968, Stella and her two friends meet a mysterious drifter, Ramón, and uncover a sinister notebook of stories.


I remember reading this book when I was young and the book is a children’s classic and finding out that they were making it into a film

Seems more like a decision that would excite many generations and bring them nostalgia. As the film finds a way to include certain stories that then become part of an overall narrative.

What might be a little problematic for the film is that it plays more to a younger audience as that is who will generally be scared, but for others who might be of a certain older age. They may find the film a bit dull and too nostalgic. As the film is made with great grandiosity and set in the 1960’s 

Most of the protagonists are teenagers and while there are adults around them very few become the center of the story or that important to it. Even Dean Norris’s character seems here more as a symbol. Though doesn’t have much to do.

Though it feels more like what the Goosebumps movie should have been. Don’t get me wrong the film is macabre for a film. More set for children, but it also comes off as almost feeling like a light version of a Stephen kind adaptation. As the material feels rich but the way it is presented feels a bit juvenile. Where it can’t make up it’s mind who it would rather serve.

The editing also gets a little too annoying at times with it’s Rapid cuts that aren’t Needed especially in early dialogue scenes.  The film rarely shows a death or any real violence but does show or hint at gruesome fates for certain characters.

The film itself is entertaining but considering Guillermo del Toro produced the film you might expect more then what is offered. As again the film offers a certain richness and even good special effects. It even knows how to build tension but maybe as some of us grew up on it. It also feels too familiar to really feel different or too original. This is a minor problem whereas it is perfectly fine it feels like it could have been better. 

The film sets itself Up for a sequel that sadly doesn’t seem Like it is ever coming but could be an effective television series. Even if not it has a nice ending that leaves just enough wonder and sympathy as well as satisfaction at a story well told.

Grade: C+