It was a while ago since we brought you the trailer for Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, written, in part, by Guillermo Del Torro, who also produces, we got excited by said trailer.
However, than I learnt that the makers were going for just a 12, perhaps a 15 rated movie. From watching the trailer, I didn’t think this would be possible, would it?
Well, yes, and, as it turns out, relatively simply in the end. You see, what you see in the trailer are generally the scariest parts of the movie.
It’s a movie that sees Stella, Zoe Margaret Colletti (“Annie”, “Wildlife”), a bookworm, wanna be writer, and Ramon, Michael Garza (“The Hunger Games”, “Wayward Pines (TV)”), a draft dodger from out of town, attempt to stop a ghost, known as Sarah Bellows, from writing stories.
That ghost is of a dead girl of the once wealthiest family in town. Stories abound that she was never allowed out of the house, was a witch, and used to tell children scary stories through a wall.
Stella and Ramon, along with Auggie, Gabriel Rush (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”, “Moonrise Kingdom”), the sensible one, and Chuck, Austin Zajur (“Fist Fight”, “Wonder Pets (TV)”), generally the scared one, break into the, now abandoned, mansion of this family one Halloween.
Whilst there, Stella can’t resist stealing a book that belonged to Sarah and this pisses the dead girl off no end. She begins to hunt down the foursome along with Chuck’s sister Ruth, Natalie Ganzhorn (“The Stanley Dynamic (TV)”, “Wet Bum”), and Tommy, Austin Abrahams (“All Summer’s End”, “Paper Towns”), the local jock-bully.
Sarah does this by feeding on fears you already have, perhaps stories you were told as a kid, and making them come to life by writing the story in the book, often just seconds before it occurs in real life.
This gives director Andre Overdal (“Troll Hunter”, “The Autopsy Of Jane Doe”) plenty to work with; from creepy monsters that can pull themselves apart, to zombie-esq things looking for their toe.
He, along with fellow writers Dan and Kevin Hageman, who wrote Trollhunters, which was created by Del Toro, as well as The Lego Movie, keep the pace fast and the scares frequent but not OTT.
They have some fun thinking up inventive ways to dispatch some of the kids as Stella and Ramon do what they can to try and think of ways to stop Sarah from killing, or taking, them all.
It’s well directed and all the kids, probably in their 20’s, perform great. It lacks a little depth and the pace can feel breathless at times, but it’s fun and should have more than enough to entertain your teenagers, if you can keep them off their phones for long enough.