By: Movie Snurb (Four Beers) –
Based on the young adult book of the same name, Scary Stories follows a group of teens on Halloween as they decide to go to the haunted house of Sarah Bellows, whose stories would come to life and presumably kill the people in the story she wrote about. Now faced with their worst fears imaginable these teens will need to figure out how to stop the curse before they all end up either disappeared or dead.
The pics in this book were pure nightmare fuel for 7 year old Eric.
I didn’t find this film particularly scary, but I’m not going to knock that when this film is based on material for young adults. However, even though I didn’t find this film scary doesn’t mean that its strength isn’t in the scary story segments. I think they are well-shot, well-acted, and has great CGI. Horror films don’t have to be terrifying to be fun and these scenes are a lot of fun, and probably scary to an 11-13-year-old. Some of the shots, especially the Harold story, are shot too dark, but most of the film looks great. I also appreciated placing the film in 1968; not using the era as a trope but rather a refreshing backdrop.
As I write this review I was inspired to watch Trick ‘r Treat it’s not a particularly scary movie but it’s fun horror film with interconnecting stories. It was probably my mistake to go in hoping that this film was going to be set up in the same structure but instead they chose to use a main story of four teenagers finding a book and the book begins to write stories about these kids that happen for real and the kids disappear. The film would’ve been much stronger had they not done this story and made more of an anthology film of the different stories, connected or not. The terror of these stories didn’t last because when the horror is over the kids’ main story was boring. I didn’t care about how or if they were going to convince Sara to stop telling the stories, I just wanted more horror. I truly feel there was a fun horror film in here, but it just missed its mark.
Because the main story was honestly boring and I was just waiting for the next scary story to begin, the pacing of this film was slow. They either needed to trim some fat in the main story or throw out the script and start new. Seriously, look at V/H/S or Trick ‘r Treat or The ABCs of Death for examples.
Along with the story structure I found the script to be poorly written. There are a lot of jokes written in that don’t land, plus some of the dialogue feels choppy and lazy. It’s as if the screenwriter thought that the contents of the book would carry the film.
This film was meh, wasn’t great but wasn’t terrible. There was a good movie in here; the scary story scenes were well done and definitely the strength of the film; however, you can only be so scary with material written for young adults. This was a missed opportunity, but your 13-year-old might get a kick out of it.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) Drinking Game
Do a Shot: for every scary story
Do a Shot: for every joke that doesn’t land.
Take a Drink: for every CGI spider.
Take a Drink: for every mention of the Red Room.
Do a Shot: every time the Jangly Man falls apart.