Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was originally a book filled with horror stories that frightened many of us as children. A childhood favor of fright you might say, so imagine the goosebumps of childhood familiarity when the film was first announced to be in the works.
The film starts off on Halloween night, the year is 1968 and we're introduced to three teenagers. The first being Stella, the horror obsessed teen with some serious resentment issues toward herself. Then we have Auggie and Chuck, Auggie being the somewhat responsible young man while Chuck plays the comical appeal in the film. Things start to get crazy as soon as a prank goes wrong and leads the gang to meet a wanderer in town by the name of Ramon Morales. As the film goes on, they all find themselves in the town's residential Haunted House, where the story of Sarah Bellows begins to unravel.
With Stella being the horror-obsessed teen that she is, she finds herself taking something from the house which awakens the ghost of Sarah Bellow and causes all hell to break loose. At this point, the movie was fine until we are then introduced to our first monster “The Scarecrow”, which is nothing short of a let down. The Scarecrow is not even in the slightest scary. Although having the creepy appeal for the entire scene, the actual monster was just a complete let down. However, I feel the PG-13 rating is to blame for this.
After being introduced to the scarecrow, the story then begins to progress rapidly, which I feel for the plot and characters involved acted as a positive thing for the film. We then begin to see some of the characters in more depth, such as the reasoning for Stella being the closeted girl she is and why Ramon is such a mystery as well.
One of the best scenes of the film was seeing the spiders explode from main character Ruth’s face as she tries to pop a pimple in the school bathroom. Natalie Ganzhorn, the actress who plays Ruth, showcased an unforgettable performance as her reaction even after the ordeal was done came across so scarily authentic.
As the story progresses, we are introduced to visually pleasing monsters such as the toe monster, the pale lady and, my favorite, the jangly man. Even though the movie is PG-13 and that is why I suspect there were some faults with the scarecrow, the other monsters didn’t seem as affected by it. Watching the film, I noticed that the writers were catering to a younger audience, which didn’t make sense to me considering the book is so old, you’d think they want to capture the attention of the original generation who read and loved the book as children.
Overall, the film was enjoyable, but mostly a let down due to the somewhat choppy story and the underwhelming amount of monsters in the film. It also didn’t help already having a clear vision of what the movie may be and then not meeting my expectations.The monsters that were done right definitely helped save the film, I just wish it didn't need to be saved in the first place, especially considering they had a whole book to draw from. Hopefully if a sequel is done, they take note of their mistakes and make it better for the fans who really love Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Echo Grade: C