Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

September 14, 2020 - Remember the old Coffee Talk skit on Saturday Night Live? Mike Myers as Jewish mom Linda Richman took your phone calls. When Linda got a little verklempt, she composed herself while viewers talked amongst themselves, discussing topics such as whether the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. And that's kind of how I feel about this movie. It's not scary and there's not much of a story here. Let's discuss.

This PG-13 film from 2019 lists among its producers Guillermo del Toro, the force behind the horror film Crimson Peak and fantasy films The Shape of Water and Pan's Labyrinth. This film employs elements of both horror and fantasy. It features a cast of young actors who have credits under their belts but have yet to break out.

Zoe Colletti plays Stella, a high schooler growing up in the rural community of Mill Valley, Pennsylvania. It's Halloween, 1968. Stella and her friends meet a stranger, a young man named Ramon. They all end up at the spooky, abandoned mansion in town. Legend has it that a girl who once lived there, Sarah, was kept locked away by her wealthy family but told scary stories that other children could hear from outside the wall. Stella and friends explore the house and Stella makes off with the book where Sarah wrote down all her stories.

Soon enough, new stories start appearing in the book. Stella realizes that, with each new story, one of her friends meets an untimely end. Sarah and Ramon must find out what Sarah wants and try to stop her before they themselves become the unfortunate subjects of her stories.

Overall review: ** Not a horrible film, but if you're looking for horror, you won't find it here. There's no suspense, no jump-out-of-your-seat moments. All you get is a series of short stories that aren't very scary.