Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (2019)

Scary Stories - background image
Our Score

Horror is a genre that oozes dichotomy more than any other storytelling art form with perhaps the exception of science-fiction. Horror often comes in two unique flavours: either you experience real terror and fear the likes of which leaves a dark spot on your soul for eternity; or you lie around bored out of your mind as cliche after cliche parade before your eyes making you wish you’d purchased Ernest Saves Christmas instead. Granted on occasion a film comes along that gives you a hearty portion of both. Case in point, this year saw the release of the long awaited Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark a horror spectacle brought forth and manifested by some of the best horror minds of our time. The film promised us thrills. It promised us gore. It promised us nightmares to remember. But for some reason it left us wondering if R.L.Stein had simply lost the plot and had failed to grow his Goosebumps series for a mature audience only for us to discover that this film was not a Stein film at all, in fact it was something else entirely… (Give us a C.)

After hundreds of hours spent researching it turns out that Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark is based upon the young adult book series by Alvin Schwartz (1927-1992). The series was then adapted into a screenplay and finally co-produced by legendary director Guillermo del Toro, and some other chaps; and was directed by André Øvredal a director that we, The Legion, have never heard of before. (Give us an L.)

“Official Trailer 2019”

Naturally, the film revolves around a group of teenagers who discover a book in an abandoned house. It soon transpires that the book is the property of a rather dead, and rather angry young girl, who unleashes tale upon tale of horror and woe upon the teens until there is only one left who ultimately triumphs. (Give us an I.) 

Now we are not here to give an in-depth analysis for this film. Instead, we’re simply here to tell you what we liked and what we didn’t like. The characters were so-so. The acting was okay. The 1960’s aesthetic is pretty damned good. So was the music. The special effects were pretty good for the most part as well. (Give us a C.) 

The monsters are pretty bloody brilliant for the most part. The Scarecrow was an amusing creature. We have seen his like before, but it was good to see him again. Now the Big Toe monster was more humorous. In fact, we’d go so far as to say it was bloody silly on so many levels. Now the Red Spot monster was an interesting creation. But our favourite beastie was the bloated, dark-haired lump from the Red Room. This creature was wonderfully executed on so many levels. The practical makeup was amazing. The look and style of the creature was Mangaesque. It was simply a well-executed monster from A to Z. We could happily watch an entire series based on this creature. And finally, the ghostly young lady was more of the same, but fun regardless. Okay, we’re bored now. (Give us an H.)

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark - 2019. red.
“Some powerful visuals.”

The film is ultimately a success and failure on numerous levels. When it gives us great visuals it presents us with subpar acting. When it gives us powerful acting the SFX look cheap and cheesy. When it presents us with interesting characters it bathes them in a world of bland reality. But it’s ultimately watchable. (Give us an E.) 

That’s pretty much it. It is what it is. We liked some of it. We didn’t like other parts of it. (What have you got? Cliche!)

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"My name is Legion, for we are many."

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