Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is an entry-level horror movie. Picture: Universal Pictures
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is an entry-level horror movie. Picture: Universal Pictures

MOVIE REVIEW: Scary Stories an entry-level horror outing

Here comes a teen-friendly horror movie, with added emphasis on the 'friendly'.

This is a highly amiable, not that frightening adaptation of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books, compendiums of urban legends and freaky folklore that sold like hot cakes in the 1980s and 90s.

Producer and co-writer Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) is out to revive interest in the series with this appealing affair, which sits about halfway between a Goosebumps and an It on the horror-flick spectrum.

The plot has been backdated to 1968, where a bunch of nerdy high-schoolers have happened upon a supernatural book that cannot only write itself, but also accurately predict the grisly fate awaiting certain readers.

Being a Del Toro production means the grisly effects are top notch. Picture: Universal Pictures
Being a Del Toro production means the grisly effects are top notch. Picture: Universal Pictures

One character who lives on a farm gets iced by a scarecrow he has maltreated in the past.

Another makes the mistake of accepting a hug from someone who should never have been embraced in the first place.

A pimple that breaks out on a face turns out to be home to a colony - no, make that a vast continent - of spiders.

And so on it goes, until the ever-thinning ranks of the geeky protagonists figure out how to reverse the curse.

Being a del Toro production, the grisly effects and monster designs are well above average, and provoke a lasting chill at odds with the lightweight tone of the picture.

A sequel would be pushing it, but this remains a nice entry-level outing for younger fans of the macabre.

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK (M)

Director: André Øvredal (Trollhunter)

Starring: Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Abrams.

Rating: ***

Them's frightin' words

 

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