Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Film) functions well as a gallery of macabre beasties you’d want collectibles for. But …
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Film) Synopsis
1968 is a year of change for the USA, but for small-town teens Stella, Chuck, and Auggie, life’s chief mission is that of pranking local bully Tommy Milner on Halloween night. The prank, unfortunately, backfires but with the help of drifter Ramon, the teens manage to flee into a local haunted house for sanctuary. There, they discover the writings of Sarah Bellows, a local legend said to be able to kill through her stories. As the teens subsequently vanish one by one, Stella realises the legend is deadlier than she thinks. Very soon, it will also be her turn to face one of Sarah Bellows’ gruesome monstrosities.
While watching this last night, I had the misfortune of sitting beside two socially distasteful ladies.
They weren’t too annoying. But in between all the sightings of the nasty monsters, well, they yakked. Not too loudly; no one hissed at them to be silent. But I did learn where they’d be going to for supper later. As well as their opinions on various inane things.
Sharing this because I’m that much of a vehement male bitch, and because regretfully, their unpleasant behaviour somewhat mirrored what happened on screen. The scary bits of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark do justice to the source material. The monsters, without fail, are deliciously nightmarish too. Always showcased with spectacular set pieces or skilful camera work.
In between these peak moments, though, the movie is one after another mumbled conversation or ineffective emoting. (Thus, best moments for socially distasteful viewers to start talking) You get the gist of what’s going on, but most of the time you don’t feel any genuine story involvement by the characters; it’s almost as if they are just drifting by.
This improves in the second half, as in after everyone is finally clear about what’s on earth going on. Sadly, the movie remains weighed down by undeveloped or convoluted plotting.
To give an example, the intricate relationships between the monsters and the teens are so poorly expressed. You know there are links, but most of these come across as little more than afterthoughts. “After-mentions” lacking much story impact, to put it in a harsher way.