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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark CBS Films Ends Their Bad Horror Film Drought! Grade: B+

Source: IMDB


Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark takes place on Halloween, where a group of kids interrupted a young man in his car, while watching a movie at the drive-in. Ramon (Michael Garza) would’ve told them to get lost, but since a cute writer Stella (Zoe Margaret Colletti) was one of the kids hiding from bullies... Might as well make a good first impression, while my night at the drive-in is ruined, am I right?! Stella feels bad, as he makes it up to Ramon by inviting him to a haunted house. Stella then discovers a book, containing an acclaimed haunted spirit written scary tales. Stella then reads a tale at home, the tale comes to life as the town’s bully has now gone missing. Witness some terrifying tales that come to life, based off a classic scary fiction novel. The Cinematography was cool, I think my favorite shot is easily the entire Red Room scene. The Score was serviceable, not bad but not memorable. I actually enjoyed the cast of this film, one or two performances that were eh, but for the most part I enjoyed the performances from this cast. Michael Garza playing Ramon was cool, I like his calm laid back personally, reminded me of that one character that was described to be cool from Jimmy Neutron. Stella played by Zoe Margaret Colletti was pretty good, I actually enjoyed this character. It’s like she was finding her voice as a writer as well as over coming her mothers departure, from these horror experiences. The best character in the entire film: Chuck played by Austin Zajur, this character is freaking hilarious. Though in one scene, Austin does struggle displaying fear and emotion during the book burning scene, I did however had a blast with this performance. He was a goofy kid, that delivered many laughs, he did a good job. The weakest performance came from Natalie Ganzhorn playing Chuck’s younger sister Ruth, I felt annoyed with her performance, also she struggled with line delivery. I had my doubts with Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. One being it was produced by CBS films, which lately they haven’t been releasing any good horror films lately. Another being I felt this was going to be an underwhelming kids movie, like IT (2017)... I don’t care what anyone says, that movie is average. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark turned out to be a surprise for the better, I really enjoyed this film a lot. I never read this book as a kid or even an adult, but from what I heard they were faithful to the source material, recreating the monsters drawn in the book as I can totally believe that statement, it seem they truly cared about this project. The monsters honestly looked great, my only complaint would be the second to last entity introduced as it was clearly CGI, but besides that I enjoyed them all. I enjoyed the story of this film, it’s entertaining, spooky, and does surprisingly have common sense. All these characters actually make smart and logical choices... It’s nice to see a change. I’m happy they didn’t dumb down these kids, so they can move on to the next scene. All kids make smart choices as they consistently strategize to what could be the next possible solution to the problem they’re facing. I also liked in the end, where the kid faces the entity, as they’re questioning why is the entity making her friends suffer, when they had nothing to do with this entity’s past... It was clever, I ask that all the time while I’m watching these kinds of films. I was surprised with some imagery to be somewhat disturbing, it’s not over the top gore, it’s well executed horror imagery. I’m sure pre-teen kids would be frighten during the Harold sequence and especially the Red Room scene, I can see nightmares coming their way. I enjoyed the humor in this film, the film was fairly funny for the right reasons. I was surprised in the beginning, when the kids lit up a bag of dog shit and threw it at the bullies car window... The way today’s society is today, they be crying and complaining that it’s not cool to show that, so I’m happy this film didn’t care and show an accurate portrayal of kids in this time period. I will say there are a couple flaws to mention. Some jump sequences come off either predictable or flat out annoying, with the loud sounds. I felt the second to last scary story over stayed it’s welcome, as it became tiring after awhile. Speaking of that: I didn’t like how the entity gave these kids an opportunity to escape, I won’t spoil anything but it was kind of ridiculous. For a PG-13 rated horror film, that feels like it’s aimed for a younger audience, this worked very well for me. Delivering a cool spooky, entertaining, and fun film that could easily be a nice yearly Halloween watch tradition for many in the future. Overall, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was a pretty damn good film. I recommend this film, it’s definitely a dope time at the movies. I’m kind of dumb founded I barely had faith in this film, given the fact Guillermo Del Toro produced this film, you know damn well he has a heart for quality monster films. -Mitch Smietana

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