I had to go watch Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark in the theater. Why? Because I grew up reading the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series, books of short horror fiction for kids, read by kids, and written to terrorize kids. They did just that.
Those of you who got your hands on these when you were young know exactly the type of grotesque and sickening narratives that played out. The creatures in these stories just stayed in your brain on repeat while you lay in bed at night head deep under the bed covers trying to hold on to any sound of mommy and daddy’s voice out in the living room for comfort.
Well, I diverge. Let’s get into the review.
I loved it! Was it a film epic? No. I went to watch it because it was nostalgic for me. Those infamous illustrations in the books came to life in the movie and they came to life well (and took lives well too.)
The scenes had the touch of classic horror which I really love: the haunted house, fog rolling over the corn field, scarecrows, voices, ghosts, just the whole shabang. The creatures, originally rooted in folklore and urban legend in the book, kept their historical roots and came through as just that, urban legends that we all heard around a campfire that scared the shit out of us as kids.
I am about to make some comparisons but let me be clear, these comparisons only apply to certain areas of the movie. When I watched this, it gave me the same feeling as when I watch Goosebumps, Are You Afraid of the Dark, and Stranger Things. The quality of filming surpassed that of Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark, but not Stranger Things. In this film, the protagonists are a group of teenage kids fighting against some dark supernatural shit and was set in 1968. The dynamic between the group of friends is very much like Stranger Things and when Coming of Age and Horror converge, it's gold. There were plenty of comedic moments. Just enough to get you comfortable to then punch you in the gut with a good jump scare. There are tons of jump scares in this and I am a big fan of jump scares (because they make me jump.)
Although the books were a collection of short stories, the movie is not separated into different unrelated stories. The movie showcases some of the famous stories from the books but weaves them into one film by using the characters. Each character becomes a catalyst for the a particular story. There's also a great backstory to tie it all together, but I don't want to give that away.
On a scale from 1 to 10, I give it a 7. If you grew up reading these, I say go watch it in the theaters. You won't be disappointed. And if you are, well, then you're just a cinema snob :)
My two favorite quotes from the movie:
I got the goods so let's banana split.
Stories hurt. Stories heal.
Check out the official Scary Stories website.
Here’s one of the most famous covers.
Some photos from the movie:
Thanks for tuning in,
I am Sterp. I write dark fiction and have a very unhealthy obsession with disturbing narratives. I am the author of The Cult Called Freedom House: Sophia Rey Book One. My short story The Lost Tea Cup is in Issue 26 of The Literary Hatchet. I am also a painter.
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