Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

André Øvredal directs Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza and Gabriel Rush in this tween horror film where some Sixties kids face down the ghouls conjured by a book of horror tales written in blood.

This was an (un)pleasant surprise – nice use of the Nixon / Vietnam era backdrop, unfussy child performances, excellent creature design (with one glaring exception) and some dreadful (in all the right way), prolonged scare sequences. A genuinely fear inducing horror flick. Only the last monster let’s the side down… where as the other threats feel tangible, the final aggressor has that uncanny CGI smoothness that is about as terrifying as an Amstrad CPC loading a game. In the main though, this is well worth seeking out. Although it is less ambitious than the current IT franchise, it actually hits the same genre high notes being aimed for with far more elan and popcorn power. It probably helps that this B-Movie is quite happy to off younger members of the lead ensemble with shocking regularity meaning as a viewer you are left feeling unbalanced. All bets are off by the second kill and no part two feels preordained and saving everyone for some grander narrative. That’s really what a horror should be all about.

7

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