By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Growing up, I didn’t read many scary books. However, I would have devoured the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” books if they had been around.
Now, that I like all things dark and scary, I was eager to see this movie.
Directed by Andre Ovredal
(“The Autopsy of Jane Doe”) and co-produced by Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro
(“The Shape of Water”), “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”
is more creepy than scary, but still a very effective little PG-13 thriller that features Lana Del Rey’s hauntingly eerie cover of Donovan’s “Season of the Witch.”
It’s surprising that it's not being released closer to Halloween. Even so, it should hold up through then and attract its target audience and beyond.
Set in Pennsylvania in 1968, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” is about a few unpopular high school kids named Stella Nicholls (Zoe Margaret Colletti, (“Annie”), Auggie Hilderbrant (Gabriel Rush, “The Kitchen”) and Chuck Steinberg (Austin Zajur, TV’s “Wonder Pets!”).
They’re often bullied by the cooler kids like school jock, Tommy Milner (Austin Abrams, TV’s “Euphoria”).
On Halloween night the trio decide to get some payback on Tommy and his friends with a smelly, prank. When the plan sort of backfires on them, Tommy and his crew run after them, but Stella Auggie and Chuck manage to hide at a local drive-in theater. It’s here they meet Ramon Morales, (Michael Garza, TV’s “Angie Tribeca”), a youngster passing through town and killing some time.
Since it’s Halloween, they invite Ramon to check out a haunted house. Legend has it this house is 100 years old. It was home to Sarah Bellows, an abused woman whose evil spirits supposedly still haunts the place.
For some reason Sarah was tormented by her family. They kept her locked in a basement and every picture of her with the family has been erased. Sarah would tell scary stories to kids through the basement. She was found hanged by her own hair.
Stella, who is an aspiring writer and filled with curiosity, wants to find out more about Sarah. While they’re in the house, she’s shocked when she stumbles across a book in a dusty room. It had to be Sarah’s because it’s filled with scary stories.
What’s worse, is the book is haunted. Soon as Stella opens it, a new ghostly story is written on the blank pages about the teens in town beginning with Tommy who mysteriously disappears. He really should have left that evil looking scarecrow alone.
What will it take for Stella, Chuck, Ramon and Auggie to save themselves from this book’s curse?
Telling would spoil the fun of seeing it all unfold. Since “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” is basically for kids and preteens, there’s not a lot of gore, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. The creepiness is off the charts.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.
Check Out This Trailer For SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.