Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark Review
This adaptation writes its own stories as the film happens. A truly terrifying concept. Thus our characters are resigned to futility and reduced to nothing more than mere scare-worthy pawns by an entity utterly indifferent to the fear continually expounded throughout.
The film is centred around a crew of misfits who, not unlike their coming-of-age counterparts existing in other cinematic realms, are mischievous in their ventures, though this time it this proves deadly. A well-planned but ill-thought prank involving a fake bag of treats (I won’t divulge what’s in the bag) and a bully’s thirst for, well bullying, leads to a crashed car filled with pieces of shit everywhere and one angry bully hell-bent on crushing the teens who did similar to his ego and status. A bigger chase ensues, with the hunt steering our crew of Chuck, a loud-mouthed and hearty every-boy who doesn’t take things too seriously; Auggie, a very respectful vegan who seems to live to ridicule Chuck’s insensitive eating of animal products; and Stella, our P.O.V and horror-writing genius, on the hunt for stories rife in escapism and transportive capabilites, to a drive-in cinema where they end up in a mysterious but hardy spectator’s car in a desperate attempt to shake the bullies locked in for ego redemption. Ramone, to the great pleasure of his new pals, alleviates the trouble and comes to the rescue, in spite of the racism and bravado dealt by Tommy, our resident bully.
Ramone, now newly inaugerated to the team and evidently in love with Stella, heads with his new friends to the former residence of Sarah Bellows, now dead and said to frequent the walls of an
exceedingly creepy, derelict building. Great idea. Teens being teens, they decide to enter the house in an attempt to really remember this year’s halloween festivities. And boy, does it go south. Tommy,
having followed behind, catches up with the team and along with Chuck’s sister, whom he has since dumped purely for sharing a relation with the kid who emasculated him in front of her and his goons,
proceeds to lock them in the house, where Chuck experiences a vision, not of this time period or present reality, to which he is shot down for sharing. Chuck’s not the only one who comes across something
he shouldn’t have; Stella gets her hands on a book which belonged to Sarah Bellows, the young girl who stayed in the house. And like a ringing phone needs to be answered, a scary book needs to be read,
and read Stella does. What ensues is a bloodbath of violence: violence incepted from the pages of Sarah Bellow’s book. Stella, after opening the book, at home, sets off a chain of events, which ends in
several deaths as they’re being written, by the ghost of Sarah Bellow’s, and thus a horrifying entanglement entrenches our beloved characters and begs the existential question: is our path already written?
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark certainly tells scary stories, stories both scary and most definitely worthy of verbalisation in the dark, round a campfire, with a boys scout camp leader holding a lantern to his
face, trying his damndest to sound creepy and accentuate the horror he is peddling. This film does a fine job of capturing that vibe and is an almagamation of every child/teen-led ensemble film, yet with a
unqiuely fresh twist and added campfire-esque component added to the book. Mix. I mean mix. (See what I did there?).