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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Can It Scare You Now?‎

  • Gabriel RushMichael Garza...
  • HorrorMystery & Suspense...
  • André Øvredal
reviewed by
Yasmeen Mamdouh
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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Can It Scare You Now?‎

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What if the scariest tales of your childhood came to life? Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark asks that question, but will it scare you?

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark follows a group of teenagers who venture into the house of the infamous Bellows family, where, supposedly, young daughter Sarah Bellows lured children in by telling them stories and then killed them. When the teens find Sarah’s book of stories and take it with them, they soon realise that the horrifyingly violent stories are still being written, and, this time, they are the heroes.

The feature is based on a pre-teens horror book series of the same name mainly with graphic illustrations that made them just as famous as they were controversial. However, the film only uses the horror highlights from the book series – the scary factors or monsters- and then adds a plot to justify, or at least attempt to, why these monsters are brought together.


If you haven’t read the book series, you won’t relate; the film will just seem episodic and not even that scary. But without knowing where the film comes from, you will easily be able to detect the pre-teen targeting aspect of the stories.

The horror aspect of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is mainly reliant on jump scares and CGI graphics. While some monsters seem terribly creepy, others are so silly and cartoonish that they can even be laughable. Yes, those who have read the books will see the monsters that scared them as kids, but those who haven’t will just sit there thinking why?

The fact that these monsters are mashed together is very obvious from the paper-thin plot that barely makes any sense, which is disappointing since the Sarah Bellows story starts out promising and could have had potential.

For the acting, Zoe Margret Colletti plays nerd gang member Stella, and her performance is strong enough to keep the audience watching as well as advocate for her acting talents. Michael Garza plays a drifter, whom the group just met and took a shine to; Garza’s performance is mediocre and forgettable, with seemingly one single look on his face the entire time. Austin Abrams and Natalie Ganzhom both have stronger performances as victims, even though their roles are substantially smaller than Garza’s.

If you read the books, you will be happily and fearfully re-living your old memories, but if you didn’t, then you will not remember anything, not even this movie.

Like This? Try

The Conjuring (2013), The Conjuring 2 (2016), Midsommar I (2019).

360 Tip

The poster art is based on the story Harold, which is featured in the third book.    

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