Directed by: Andre Ovredal
Produced and Story by: Guillermo Del Toro
Production Company: CBS Films
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Me Tie Dough-Ty Walker! Translation: The nightmares from our childhood has returned to haunt us on the big screen and yes the horror has lived up to the hype.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a film based on the famous book series by the same name. The story follows three teenagers in the humble town of Mill Valley Pennsylvania in the year 1968. For those of you that read the books you already know that the series was an anthology, so right away we know the movie faced a challenge of bringing in several different stories in a way that made sense with the story and I think it was able to accomplish that goal. The story follows a small group(Stella, Chuck, Auggie and later Ramon) of teenagers up to no good on the night of Halloween. From the start, the group displayed excellent chemistry with each other and established a great sense of comradery for the viewer to enjoy. The set up for the horror is created by the group exploring a notorious abandoned house and coming across a not so ordinary book that belonged Sarah Bellows. Sarah Bellows was the towns favorite urban legend as it is rumored that she told her own horror stories. As expected, things do not go well with acquiring the book as stories begin to write themselves with the teens as the main characters and unfortunately for the main characters the horrific tales begin to come to life.
One thing that really made the book series stand out was the creepy artwork by Stephen Gammell, and I cannot stress this enough the film did a breathtaking job with extremely accurate depictions of each monster. The film made a very wise decision and used a lot of practical effects, that choice made the monster more real and therefore more terrifying. Even going as far as hiring the contortionist Troy James to perform the unnatural and disgusting movements of The Jangly Man. The voice alone from the monster looking for its big toe was enough to deliver nightmares but to me the obvious standout was the Pale Lady, it was pretty much a copy and paste from the original artwork. Seeing her on screen at first brought me joy because how true it stayed to the source material but then fear quickly took over as she slowly sauntered closer and closer to the screen.
I must admit the PG-13 rating did have me worried that it might be a little mild but it actually created an opportunity that payed off. The rating forces the movie to be more creative with its kills on screen rather than rely on blood and gore(not that there is anything wrong with that, it is a horror movie after all). To be more specific and still non spoiler, the famous Harold the scarecrow delivered a particularly brutal kill in a unique and creative way. It’s also no secret that spiders would be making a vicious appearance in the adaption of The Red Spot and the arachnids indeed sent chills to the whole theatre. Overall after many years, finally seeing Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark on the big screen was definitely worth the wait. There is still many stories to possibly adapt so my fingers will stay crossed for a sequel announcement.