Hello all, and welcome to my review of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark! 😀
Starring: Zoe Margaret Colletti (Stella Nicholls), Michael Garza (Ramon Morales), Gabriel Rush (Auggie Hilderbrandt), Austin Zajur (Chuck Steinberg), Austin Abrams (Tommy), Natalie Ganzhorn (Ruth), Dean Norris (Roy Nicholls), Gil Bellows (Chief Turner), Lorraine Toussaint (Lou Lou), Kathleen Pollard (Sarah Bellows)
Plot (taken from Google):
“The shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large in the small town of Mill Valley for generations. It’s in a mansion that young Sarah Bellows turns her tortured life and horrible secrets into a series of scary stories. These terrifying tales soon have a way of becoming all too real for a group of unsuspecting teens who stumble upon Sarah’s spooky home.”
Zoe Margaret Colletti (Stella Nicholls) – The leader of her little group of friends. She always kind of keeps to herself, especially because she had such a hard time after her mother disappeared. She’s a determined girl with a good head on her shoulders.
Michael Garza (Ramon Morales) – A kid driving through town who takes an instant liking to Stella. He’s a tough guy, and always looks out for Stella.
Gabriel Rush (Auggie Hilderbrandt) – One of Stella’s childhood friends who didn’t abandon her after her mother disappeared. For some reason, the other kids picked on her, but Auggie and Chuck never did. He’s a little more clean cut than Chuck.
Austin Zajur (Chuck Steinberg) – Stella’s other childhood friend who never turned his back on her. He’s a little more of a troublemaker than Auggie, and plays a fun role as Auggie’s opposite.
Austin Abrams (Tommy) – Lol, I did not like this kid at all. One of those characters that needs a swift kick to the backside.
Natalie Ganzhorn (Ruth) – Chuck’s sister. Kinda stuck up at first, but I felt bad for her by the end.
Dean Norris (Roy Nicholls) – Stella’s dad. He’s been in a bit of a slump since Stella’s mom disappeared, and the small town he and Stella live in won’t let them forget about that incident for long, unfortunately.
Gil Bellows (Chief Turner) – Doesn’t at all believe the kids when they try to explain what’s going on. Not the friendliest character.
Lorraine Toussaint (Lou Lou) – Worked in the Bellows household and felt sorry for Sarah Bellows.
Kathleen Pollard (Sarah Bellows) – The girl who started it all. Her stories have a way of taking on a life of their own. 😉
Ah, so nostalgic! I remember reading these books when I was a kid. They freaked me out, big time!
Just look at these covers!
If you know me, you know how merciless I am with the horror genre though, lol. I’m super picky, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.
I also have a love-hate relationship with Guillermo del Toro’s work. Pan’s Labyrinth traumatized me and left me needing massive amounts of chocolate cake, but then I liked Crimson Peak and even loved The Shape of Water. Lol, I’m always cautious when I hear he worked on a film I want to see.
This is one of those times where I actually loved it.
I was wondering how they were going to stitch together all those stories in the books, but they managed to do it in a way that made sense. While it’s never really cleared up if it’s black magic, a curse brought on by Sarah’s desire for vengeance, or a little of both, whatever Sarah’s spirit writes in her book comes to life.
There’s a part where she almost seems possessed. Not so much by an outside force, but more like when they say a poltergeist is a person’s negative energy? Or maybe it’s her dark side, like in the Silent Hill movie?
I was hoping they’d explain that a little more, but maybe they’re leaving it for a possible sequel?
I also appreciated the plot they built around discovering the scary stories. When Stella and her friends go into the abandoned Bellows house, they get a little creeped out, especially Chuck, but they dismiss it.
Stella even tempts fate and asks Sarah Bellows to tell her a story, Candyman style, since that’s part of the Bellows legend in town.
Aaaannnnd then she takes Sarah’s book home with her.
While there wasn’t any real blood in this movie, it still managed to be really creepy. Like the books, it felt like it was aimed at a younger audience, so it didn’t rely on gore to get its scares. I actually really liked this too.
Oftentimes, I get bored with horror movies where people are constantly getting dismembered, or where it feels like the movie is trying to one-up itself on just how gross it can get. That kind of horror doesn’t work as well for me personally.
I’m more scared by what I don’t see.
I think the monsters in this movie, based so exactly on the original drawings in the books, are perfect for that kind of horror.
Although this movie can stand on its own, I actually like that they leave it just a little bit open-ended. There’s enough material for another movie, and Stella has a good reason to keep looking for answers. Even though I’m usually not crazy about sequels, I actually hope they make another one.
My rating for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Cash-Worthy – This was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. I kinda wish it had come out around Halloween, lol. It was really nostalgic for me, seeing all these monsters I remember from the books. I really feel like the movie did them justice. Definitely check this one out if you like movies like Goosebumps or It, or enjoy horror movies with kids as the protagonists in general. 😀
My Rating System:
Epic: This movie is so mind-bogglingly awesome that I may go see it twice. This one will have a place of honor on my shelf.
Cash-Worthy: Good stuff. This will most likely find a place on my shelf.
Not Bad: I liked it. I’m glad I saw it, and it may or may not end up on my shelf at some point. I would say rent it first to be safe.
Meh: Rent it first. You may love it or hate it, but I’m indifferent probably because it’s not my type of movie. I’m glad I saw it, but it won’t end up on my shelf.
Emergency Cake: I have an emotional reaction to movies sometimes, especially to tragedies. If a movie makes me sad or angry, sometimes it will stick with me for a while. At these times, only chocolate cake can save me. Chocolate cake makes everything better. No shelf for you. Ever.