Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Review: Thrills Fall Flat in an Uneven Horror
Saturday, August 10, 2019 18:14 IST
By Shaurya Thakur, Santa Banta News Network
"Some people believe if we repeat stories often enough they become real. They make us who we are. That can be scary."

Cast: Zoe Colletti, Gabriel Rush, Austin Zajur, Michael Garza, Dean Norris, Gil Bellows, Austin Abrams, Natalie Ganzhorn

Director: Andre Ovredal

Rating: **

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is based on a series of children's books of the same name, authored by American novelist Alvin Schwartz. He wrote it as an anthology of horror stories and perhaps should have been left at that as the finished product by Andre Ovredal weaves these anthology stories in a film narrative, leaving a lot to be desired.

The plot deals with a group of tightly knit friends Stella (Zoe Colletti), Auggie (Gabriel Rush), Chuck (Austin Zajur) who befriend a grifter named Ramon (Michael Garza) after he saves them from the residential bully Tommy (Austin Abrams). Since it's Halloween, they break into a house said to be haunted by the myth of the Bellows family; its spirit forever looming in the air. Stella discovers an old, dusty storybook that sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy their small-town peaceful existence.

The film disappoints in almost all departments and doesn't give us a lot to root for. The dialogues are laughably bad and performances are bland; by characters that feel one-dimensional. This, however, can be attributed to bad writing as the screenplay feels like the 1st draft of the script that someone should have thrown out.

Andre Ovredal's direction looks confused, with actors just spouting lines and walking off the frame. The scariest part of the movie, unfortunately, is not its monsters but a hurried and unimaginative camera work. The visual effects are decent, and there are a few moments of genuine terror and laughter. The film also deserves a pat on the back for portraying minorities as leading characters which is unheard of in the horror genre.

Overall, 'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' is a vapid tale of terrors that evokes more laughs than scares. It is filled with glaring inconsistencies and fumbles while finding its voice.
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