“Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” Is Chillingly Underwhelming

Courtesy of IMP Awards

Courtesy of IMP Awards

Isabella Foster, Photography Editor

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark brings on a re-telling of the traditional books written by Alvin Schwartz in a new and unique way. The movie uses classic stories from the original books written in 1981, 1984, and 1991; bringing a deeper plot to the original haunting stories. This movie also introduces teenage curiosity, relating to the majority of the audience, giving the movie more relevance considering the film takes place in the 60’s. Besides the interesting idea and possibility of this movie being actually scary, it turned out to be utterly disappointing.

The plot starts with teenagers Stella, Auggie, and Chuck living the classic high school life on Halloween pranking their school bullies, Tommy and his gang, ultimately meeting a drifter named Ramon through their act of rebellion. Becoming quick friends with Ramon after he aids the best friends in hiding from Tommy, they go to explore the haunted Bellows family house.

The entire movie stems from The Bellows family, the plot centering around the family being the founders of the town. They had a daughter named Sarah who would tell children scary stories written in her legendary book of stories, through the wall of the room she was locked in for being different. After Stella finds Sarah’s book in her room, her and her friends are locked in by Tommy and let out by a spirit, which could only be assumed to be the spirit of Sarah Bellows. Stella brings the book of stories home and finds that news stories are being written before her eyes in blood.

Throughout the rest of the movie, Stella and her friends are quicky having their own stories being written in Sarah’s book. As more and more of them are disappearing, from creatures in stories that haunted them as kids. They actively continue to try and put a stop to the madness. The movies plot ends with Stella making a deal with Sarah’s spirit to stop the stories from being written, as well as with Stella promising to find a way to bring her friends back.

The plot of this movie, not being extremely complex, made it more interesting. At first, seeming to be just scary stories aimlessly put together, a surprisingly deep plot and undermining meaning were brought to the surface instead. The structure of the plot and backstory to each person in this film were captivating and interesting to watch. Stella’s backstory with her mother, Auggie’s inability to believe, Chuck’s love for his sister and terrifying dreams, and even Ramon’s secretive life story before meeting the three best friends, brought a deeper meaning to why each scary story was written for each person. Honestly, the backstories and fears that each teenager held in this movie were one of the only reasons to continue watching.

The cinematography was somewhat mediocre, but expected when it comes to the seriousness of this movie. Jump scares were extremely overused and became old and boring as the movie’s plot progressed. Compared to other thriller and horror movies, this one brought little to no scare factor, especially to viewers that had previously seen much more visually developed horror and thriller movies. The visuals weren’t scary or disturbing and there was no moment that had you jumping back in your seat and screaming, as some horror movie fanatics would have loved and expected.

When relating this movie back to the original books. Alvin Schwartz’s scary children stories, other than being scary to children, brought on a different setting when it came to the drawings depicted in the books. Although the special effects in the movie that were trying to portray the original terrifying images were on a slightly higher pedestal of mediocre, it didn’t bring on the same eerie feeling that could be drawn from simply looking at the original images.

This movie seemed to be lacking the jaw dropping special effects that could usually be portrayed in modern 2019 thriller and horror movies. Silly depictions and laughable special effects of the images that originally made “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” were all that were seen while watching this film. Granted, the depictions of “The Big Toe” corpse and “The Jangly Man” were no short of amazing, while the rest in comparison lacked the expected wow factor.

“Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” was utterly disappointing. From the absent scare factor, mediocre special effects and the interesting plot, this movie was extremely overhyped and surprisingly did not live up to its perfected outside image depicted by critics and the general storyline. The movie, if fitted together differently could have turned out fantastic, but it turned out unbalanced and due to its previously mentioned faults and its plot. Overall, the movie was disappointing and although, inaccurately labeling it as a horror and a thriller movie, placing it as simply a thriller could have given it a better setting to the plot and lived up to expectations.