Title – Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
Director – André Øvredal (The Autopsy of Jane Doe)
Cast – Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Zajur, Dean Norris
Plot – On Halloween night in 1968 a group of teenagers unknowingly unleash an evil spirit after they find a nefarious diary of a long dormant citizen.
“You don’t read the book. It reads you”
Review by Eddie on 20/02/2020
Tell me a scary story I hear you ask.
Well you’re in luck dear reader as I have a very scary story to tell you indeed!
The type of story that will leave you with shivers down your spine, this is a tale of how an Oscar winning heavyweight used his industry prowess to reimagine Alvin Schwartz’s famous set of horrific tales into one downright atrocious feature length offering.
Getting credit as both producer and story by, beloved Mexican director Guillermo del Toro has backed in André Øvredal (the man behind the brilliant Troll Hunters and The Autopsy of Jane Doe) to be the man to bring Schwartz’s tales to life, as they amalgamate a collection of his dastardly yarns into one feature length experience that will surely make you believe evil in this world does indeed exist.
Going the pg-13 (M rated in Australia) route, Stories looked to tap into the teenager centred horror marketplace, as we follow a bunch of annoying high-schoolers over a Halloween period in a small American town in the Nixon era of the late 1960’s as they come into possession of a nasty little book that sees its readers become the victims of its bloodthirsty tales.
A daft plot no doubt but also one that could’ve been a guilty pleasure done right, Stories instead makes you wish that you to could become a participant of the book in question and be dispatched in a relatively painless way before you have too witness another second of Austin Zajur’s Razzie worthy acting or Øvredal stumbling around another failed jump scare.
Filled with brief moments of horror goodness, a hospital set-piece or a corn field escapade the standouts, Stories fails to inspire any type of audience reaction or engagement as it trudges along its way, held back by its target audience limitations and uninspired delivery.
It’s truly scary to believe that such talented members of the filmmaking community thought that this final product was one worthy of public consumption, although some dark magic seems to have been present concerning this piece, dark juju that somehow managed to see this tripe turn a profit, get some decent critical reactions and set itself up for a sequel that I’m sure will be just as generic and forgettable as what has come before it.
It goes to show dear reader that we live in a day and age where anything and everything can and will be made, but be wary as watching such pieces of “film” like Stories will slowly but surely zap your will to be a living and breathing cinemagoer.
Final Say –
Squandering a potentially fun opportunity to bring Schwartz’s famed series back into spotlight, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is neither scary, imaginative or interesting enough to warrant your valuable time. Fear the incoming sequel.
½ a vandalized car out of 5