Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Review: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
Release date: August 9, 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Starring:  Zoe Margaret CollettiMichael GarzaGabriel Rush

Zoe Margaret Colletti and Michael Garza in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)Inspired by the iconic series of horror tales by Alvin Schwartz, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark takes us to 1969 in the small town of Mill Valley, Pennsylvania.  The movie follows a group of high school kids led by Stella Nicholls (Zoe Margaret Colletti) and her friends Auggie Hilderbrandt (Gabriel Rush) and Chuck Steinberg (Austin Zajur).  The teens are preparing for their Halloween night, which involves a little bit of mischief and eventually a whole lot of horror.  Stella decides to explore the Bellows mansion, which leads to more of an adventure than any of the kids can imagine: the kids discover a mysterious book that makes a different scary story come to life every night!

If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, you know these stories.  The best thing about this movie is that it stays true to these books, which is an amazing feat since the filmmakers converted a series of short stories into a movie.  You will instantly recognize the illustrations that unnerved you as a kid, and those scary stories are augmented by an equally horrifying score.  And despite the horror and jump scares, this film manages to barely stay in the PG-13 rating.  

Austin Zajur in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
Despite the great imagery that the movie invokes, the film does seem to run a bit long.  With a runtime of almost 2 hours, at times it seems like the movie focuses more on character development than on action and horror. Also, the horror might scare a teenager, but an adult might be underwhelmed by the scares this film provides.  If you are a loyal fan of the books, then you will want to check this movie out just for nostalgia purposes, but a casual fan might want to hold off and wait to see it on video. 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark brings the classic horror short stories to life on the big screen.  It’s a great feat, but the long run time and mild scares might make this a better story too tell at home. 

Rent it.

Zoe Margaret Colletti and Michael Garza in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

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