A film that lives up to its title Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark is a fantastic horror film that legitimately had me scared. A creative fusion of Guillermo del Toro (screen story & producer) and André Øvredal (director) Scary Stories has too much creativity surrounding it to be bad. It has a very crisp visual aesthetic and despite international talent being behind the camera it felt like a real slice of Americana.
The PG-13 rating (M here in Australia) really adds to the folk tale horror of Scary Stories. Having to hold back, when less is more, really lends itself to the scares. Perhaps that’s why Jaws still holds up or why the Wampa scene in Empire Strikes Back isn’t as scary when you see the creature in the Special Edition. Something that horror has (maybe) lost a little bit are the constraints and having to be creative in a studio setting. Not that I want all my horror to be PG-13 but I found Scary Stories to be scarier than higher rated horrors and that’s saying something.
I’d never heard of the book until the announcement of this movie, I don’t think it made an impact Down Under. The way this film takes a series of anthology stories and weaves them into a cohesive narrative is wonderful. Whether that dilutes from the power of the stories as being individually scary I can’t speak to but I was happy with how this was presented. Anthology horror is great but a seamless story helps the tension roll into each subsequent segment and makes for a scarier film.
If you were looking for a gateway into horror for either you or your kids don’t go past this:
Written by Benjamin Boekelaar