Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark Movie Review: Factitious attempt at Scares

Updated: Aug 09, 2019, 21:35 IST | Johnson Thomas

More so, Marco Beltrami and Anna Drubich's background score and cinematographer Roman Osin's graphics enabled atmospherics can do little to shore up the shudders here!

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark Movie Review: Factitious attempt at Scares
Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark. Picture courtesy/YouTube

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark
U/A; Horror/Mystery/Thriller

Cast: Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Gil Bellows, Dean Norris, Austin Zajur, Natalie Ganzhorn, Austin Abrams, Kathleen Pollard
Director: André Øvredal
Rating: Rating

The popular Alvin Schwartz's Children's horror stories of the same name now has a cinematic turn (Guillermo del Toro shares credit as writer and producer), but it's definitely not all for the better. As staple terror tales go, this one has enough creepy and grotesque elements (corpses, demonic scarecrows, creepy spiders, dark hidden rooms, fleshy ghoul etc.) that would otherwise have scared the bejeesus out of the intended young target audience but lack of coherence and poor compilation of sequences makes this horror flick a little too feeble to be scary.

Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series — three books in total each one comprising 25(or a few more) tales, the first volume of which was published in 1981, may have been pretty popular but it also drew ire for the macabre illustrations by Stephen Gammell. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of this movie adaptation directed by André Øvredal (Trollhunter, The Autopsy of Jane Doe).

The film, set in small-town America around the time when young Americans were being drafted for Vietnam, has a bunch of teenagers ; Introvert & wannabe writer Stella Nichols (Zoe Margaret Colletti), Auggie (Gabriel Rush) ,Chuck (Austin Zajur) and the young Hispanic teen, Ramón Morales (Michael Garza) who joins this little group by chance, trespass into long-deceased Sarah Bellows (Kathleen Pollard) haunted mansion during Halloween – only to realise that their interference has stirred up a vengeful ghost who writes ( right before their eyes) about their death in blood within her diary.

Watch Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark Trailer

American teens as they are wont to do, are far more curious and adventurous and enjoy far more freedoms than Asians – so the script has them ignoring parental control, being secretive and willful to a fault and even endangering their own lives – all on a whim. So it's a little difficult to relate to the high-risk situations they get themselves into. In the background we see signs of political turmoil- Nixon's posters being defaced by Swastikas and some of the characters ( Local cop and town bully) lean towards racism in their interactions with the main leads. If only André Øvredal could have employed enough skill to make such window dressing matter in the scheme of things. Even Del Toro's monsters look out of place. They come from nowhere and have no cohesive link with the main ghost so their presence evokes far more curiosity than chills. More so, Marco Beltrami and Anna Drubich's background score and cinematographer Roman Osin's graphics enabled atmospherics can do little to shore up the shudders here!

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