Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark [Review]

scary stories

Scary Stories focuses on the Bellows family of Mill Valley who had a daughter named Sarah that they kept locked up in a basement room. Her only contact with the outside world was telling her scary stories through the walls of her room to curious local children who came snooping around the house. Many of those children mysteriously disappeared. Sarah eventually hanged herself, and the Bellows house was abandoned boarded up.

But on Halloween night Stella, Auggie, Chuck and new found friend Ramón visit the Bellows home and find the secret room where Sarah was kept, along with her book of stories, said to have been written in the blood of the children she purportedly killed. A curious Stella takes the book home, which awakens Sarah's vengeful spirit. Anyone who was in the Bellows house at the time is now a target—not just Stella, Ramón, Auggie, and Chuck, but also Tommy and Chuck's older sister, Ruth. One by one, new stories featuring each of them appear as if by magic in Sarah's book. Then the stories come to life in the real world.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is one of those rare films that is better than the source it is adapting. The short stories that where curated by Alvin Schwartz were decent but it was the imagery that accompanied them that sent your imagination running wild. And since each story was usually a page in length Del Toro along with Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton chose to expound more on the imagery than the story itself. These are not word for word adaptations and that why it works so well.

Ovredal's does a fantastic job of building the perfect Halloween atmosphere, one that hasn't been seen on film since 2009's Trick 'r Treat. Visually the film is a thing of beauty, from the practical FX to the small details found throughout you are fully immersed in a small Pennsylvania town on Halloween night in 1968.

If the images from Scary Stories are what stuck with you through life then this film will make you blush like a virgin on prom night.  Pulling those images and turning them into a fully realized three dimensional existence is purely a work of art. Add to the fact that it is framed in a narrative that ties everything together in a way that feels completely natural and you have yourself a genuine horror film that doesn't need an R rating to work.

Rating: 9/10 Stars

Rich Stile TheDevilsEyes1

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