[Review] Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – The shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large in the small town of Mill Valley for generations. It’s in a mansion that young Sarah Bellows turns her tortured life and horrible secrets into a series of scary stories. These terrifying tales soon have a way of becoming all too real for a group of unsuspecting teens who stumble upon Sarah’s spooky home.
I’m a big fan of Guillermo Del Toro, and I’ve been a big fan of the books for as far back as I can remember, my brothers and sisters grew up on these stories and we loved them. We loved the amazing artwork in the books also. Being that I loved these books so much, I was a little hesitant about watching the film, but in the long run, I decided to watch it. I will say that this film really did the books justice and even managed to capture some of the incredible artwork I loved so much from the books.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is about a group of young friends who go to a haunted house on Halloween and finds a book based on scary stories that the troubled girl who used to live there wrote. The protagonist of the film, Stella Nicholls (Zoe Margaret Colletti), take the book with her and soon realizes that it writes live stories about her friends. The stories occur in real life as her friends start dying off one by one. She must figure out how to stop these terrible events from happening while trying to understand the dark mystery of the books owner.
The film begins on Halloween in 1968, in the town of Mill Valley, Pennsylvania. Three teenage friends, Stella, Auggie (Gabriel Rush), and Chuck (Austin Zajur), prank a local bully named Tommy Milner (Austin Abrams). When Tommy and his gang chase them into a drive-in movie theater, where a young drifter named Ramón (Michael Garza) hides them in his car. Later, they invite Ramón to explore a local “haunted house” which once belonged to the wealthy Bellows family, who helped found Mill Valley.
Inside, they find a secret room and a mysterious old book of horror stories hand-written by Sarah Bellows. Tommy, who followed the group to the house, locks them inside the room along with Ruth (Natalie Ganzhorn), Chuck’s sister and Tommy’s date for that night. They escape after being released by an unseen presence, and Stella takes Sarah’s book before they leave.
Stella offers Ramón the basement to stay in at her house the night after, once they discovered that Tommy has vandalized his car, leaving him nowhere to go or stay. While in her bedroom, Stella discovers a new story, titled “Harold”, being written in Sarah’s book. In reality, a drunken Tommy is stalked by the titular Harold, who ends up being his family’s scarecrow, once it comes to life.
The creature brutally stabs him with a pitchfork, causing Tommy to vomit hay and undergo a violent transformation. The following day, after Tommy was reported missing, Stella and Ramón investigate and finds Harold now dressed in Tommy’s clothes. Stella becomes convinced that Tommy has been turned into a scarecrow, but the others are skeptical.
Stella soon learns that the book is cursed by the evil spirit of Sarah Bellows, whose spirit is writing the stories to put Stella and her friends’ lives in danger. Stella and her friends now have to find a way to break the curse, before they become victims of the monsters within Sarah Bellow’s stories. This was a creepy film and that stays consistent throughout the entire movie.
It was a blast seeing the stories I grew up reading in school come to life on the big screen. Plenty of scares all around just like in the book. It has me wanting to watch it again and hoping for a second movie, which I know there will not be. While this movie will probably not win any awards it was still great and I recommend it to any young teen, or child at heart adults who love fun horror stories.
Title: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Release Date: August 9, 2019
Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Starring: Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Director(s): Andre Ovredal
Reviewed by: Sarah Hopkins
Our Rating: 3.4 /5
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