Movie Review: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark


Kirsten Osborne, Staff Writer

The first time I heard of Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark, it popped up as a snapchat ad as I was scrolling through stories. At first glance, it appeared to be something made for kids. In any case, scary movies, much less cheesy scary movies, aren’t exactly my forte. Something about the cliche horror preview drew me in this time, though.

Directed by André Øvredal and based on the children’s book series of the same name by Alvin Schwartz, the movie aims to retell the stories by giving them a haunting author–Sarah Bellows.

The movie starts by showing Stella Nicholls, a girl living in a small town in 1968 America. Her and her two friends are out on Halloween, seemingly to get revenge on their high school bully, Tommy. When Tommy finds them they all have to run away, leading them to Ramon, a draft dodger making his way through town. They suggest going to the town’s haunted house, which is where everything starts to go downhill.

The movie now starts to follow the path of Sarah Bellows and her book of scary stories that wreak havoc on the town, which Stella quests to end. The book found in the secret room of the house writes stories on its own through the spirit of Bellows. Writing themselves out of someone’s worst fear, they begin to come true, killing off some of the unlucky main characters. 

You don’t read the book, the book reads you.

The film displays retellings of old scary stories to give the audience a sense of nostalgia. It aims to be more of a spooky movie than traditionally “scary”, and although the plot is straight-forward, it allows room for it to be extremely unnerving. 

Megan Osborne, 9, reflects on her opinion of the film. 

“[The movie] was predictable, but there were jumpscares that would catch you off guard. You could tell what was going to happen next.”

While I don’t think the movie is very unique or thrilling, I do believe it is interesting and leaves a large plot twist at the end that makes it intriguing. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to begin to delve into the world of horror movies.