Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark Movie Review
Some horrors boast lots of scares, only to defeat themselves by revealing the scariest moments in the trailers. Scary Stories showed a few of the more intense moments but still managed to keep the film unnerving.
The film follows a group of friends who, on Halloween night, enter an abandoned home with a dark history. There, they discover a secret room with an old storybook. After taking the book from the house, an old rage is reawakened and sinister things begin happening.
What impressed me was how superb the translation from the books to the screen was. Only Guillermo del Toro, who wrote the screenplay, could have pulled that off. What was slightly disappointing was the predictability level. Guillermo has written masterpieces such as Pan's Labyrinth, Crimson Peak, and The Shape of Water and has managed each time to keep the surprises fresh. In Scary Stories, however, there were a few moments where the small jump-scares didn't work because any horror fan could see them coming. The film ultimately redeemed itself for those moments by having a dynamic cast of relative newcomers.
Zoe Margaret Colletti shined in her first horror film. She and Michael Garza had the best chemistry in the film. Austin Zajur gave the film its comedic relief, the humor natural and never forced. In fact, most of the things he said were exactly what you or I would have said.
The creativity was also a huge plus. I haven't read the books, so I'm unsure how accurate each story was, but I loved how del Toro went a different direction than most other horror films. Where R-rated horror films try to go overboard with gore in order to get their scares in, Scary Stories was able to use its PG-13 rating to its advantage in order to keep things practical and use the story to get scares, not cheap shots.
In conclusion, I was impressed with the film. Sure, it had its predictable moments, but it was by far one of the better horror films out there. From the imagery to the cast to the story, the film had all the important elements every good film needs. I give it a 3.5 out of 4.
© 2019 Nathan Jasper