‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ Leaves Viewers Unsatisfied


Photo by Felix Mooneeram on Unsplash

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” drew in about 2.3 million people to theaters in its first three days.

Raiyan Shaik, Reporter

With Halloween quickly approaching, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” is just another one of your run-of-the-mill, average horror films. The movie drew in about 2.3 million people to theaters in its first three days. However, despite a successful debut, viewers often left dissatisfied, earning it disappointing scores across platforms such as Cinemascore, Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb. ‘With a subpar fright factor, the movie is much less terrifying than the trailer makes it appear to be. 

The movie follows a group of unsuspecting teens who stumble upon a spooky mansion, a typical horror movie cliche. It’s in this very mansion that the young daughter of the infamous Bellows family, Sarah Bellows, turns her tortured life into a series of scary stories. When these stories begin to come to life in the small town of Mill Valley, the horror becomes all too real for these teens.  

While the idea behind the movie initially impressed me, some quick research found that the production company behind the film bought the rights to the book of the same name with intent to make it a movie. The creativity of the film was less originality than it was an adaptation of an existing piece. However, the adaptation lacked for me. Although the film has potential, the plot felt rushed and unorganized. Characters were introduced and removed abruptly. The background of these characters was briefly discussed but not explored, leaving the viewer with frustrated questions. 

An aspect that deserves praise, however, is the CGI and effects. The creatures looked surprisingly real, enough to terrify any child or adult. Each effect from creepy scarecrows coming to life to spiders coming out of faces were masterfully crafted. However, once again, the disappointing part was that the creators of the film obviously depended on the high level of CGI to carry the terror of the film, instead of the storyline itself. 

The final nail in the coffin was an extreme let down for the ending. While the final scene is an obvious set up for a sequel, it is incredibly surprising how much the makers miss the mark. The ending is so unresolved that there simply has to be a sequel, although it has yet to be confirmed. Even as a setup, the scene simply doesn’t have any of the typical suspense or cliffhanger feel we’ve come to be accustomed to for these types of films. The wrap-up of the primary conflict was quick and rushed, a clear indication that the scary monsters, not a good plot, were the driving force of the movie.

The PG-13 film is likely to do more justice to even younger viewers than it did for its intended teenage audience. The movie is much more suitable for a Netflix watch on a boring night rather than a trip to the cinema. From an unsatisfying ending to disappointing jumpscares, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” left much to be desired.

Rating: ★★★☆☆



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