Film Review – Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (M)

Directed by: André Øvredal

Starring: Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush

Three and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright

Adult horror fans have been spoilt lately with nostalgia bait It and Pet Sematary, R-rated anxiety inducing Midsommar and doppelganger thrills Us but teen horror fans have been neglected.

Goosebumps was hardly the spine tingling experience they may have craved – steering more towards G-rated adventure than unsettling thrills – but Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark will ensure some lights will be left on overnight.

A group of small town teens in 1968 venture into an abandoned, dilapidated old haunted house (on Halloween night, of course) that once housed local legend Sarah Bellows.

In the basement, where Sarah is said to have been locked up, Stella (Zoe Margaret Colletti) finds a book of horror stories written in red (blood??) and takes it home with her – putting herself and her friends in danger from something otherworldly.

Tapping into the late night campfire tales theme, Scary Stories is a fun, creepy mix of Tales From The Crypt and Urban Legend that is aimed predominantly at pre-teens, who are seeking something to make them jump, but even horror aficionados can appreciate it.


The mystery that sets the story in motion is intriguing, as the group of kids play Nancy Drew to solve it before they are targeted next, but what gives this story some weight is the stakes.

In this teen-friendly horror story, you can’t undo what is already done and friends that have perished can not be brought back.

While co-writer and producer Guillermo del Toro’s influence is evident, particularly in the creature designs, director Øvredal delivers some genuinely chilling sequences.

Another nice detail is the 1960s setting – proving that not everything has to be update or shifted to another decade that is deemed trendier to be more palatable (looking at you, IT).

This is one goosebumps inducing ride that would benefit from watching in the dark.

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