Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark review



Zach Dulny, Critic

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark”is a 2019 movie based off the 1980 book series of the same name. Taking only around seven of the 80 something stories from the three novels by Alvin Schwartz, this movie is a decent adaptation of some of the genius that made the iconic book series. The movie is good for anyone who has read or who hasn’t read the books since it tells its own story from its source material. It’s a good movie to give you a spook, while only faulting from some of its storytelling. Making me give it a 3.9/5 due to a small deficient in storytelling and some iffy dialogue. But coming through in its designs and tribute to a masterful book series.


This review is not going line by line and dissecting the show. This will be memorable things from the movie which is most likely what matters to a deciding moviegoer. 

The movie starts off with a long session of logos. Then tells the setting of the story. It takes place in 1968, which is the most important piece of information that is given right at the beginning. The movie comes through on making its setting. One of the first things seen in the movie is a character enlisting in the military for Vietnam. Along with many little jokes and nods to Richard Nixon and the election in which he was in. The movie also features a lot of speech that would’ve been used at that time. The dialogue in the first part of the movie really feels awkward to modern teenagers since the teenagers speaking in the movie don’t speak like teenagers today. But try to get past that fact since it is one of the things that brings my rating down. 

There is an obvious main cast of characters whose names are vital to be known when seeing the movie. They are all performed well by their actors although they may seem cheesy. Along with the characters comes each of the stories linked to them. For anyone who has read the books here are the stories that are portrayed in this movie. Harold, The Big Toe, The Haunted House, The Dream, The Red Spot, and Me Tie Dough-ty Walker!. Each of these stories are portrayed similar to the book with only changes being to fit the overarching story. 

One of the best parts of the movie is its monster design. Since most of the monsters have been illustrated in the books, the movie had the task of turning sketches into real creatures in which they succeed perfectly. And their effects look amazing (other than some CGI spiders) especially in the climax of Harold. The effects themselves are done surprisingly through less CGI and more practical which is a treat for any horror fans.

Let’s be clear, this movie is more of a thriller than it is a horror. Unlike the books which focused on the thoughts and ideas to scare you slowly, this movie uses a lot of jump scares in obvious places. I found myself being able to say “jump scare” right before each one in the movie. Though the monsters designs do give that spine tingling horror feeling, the movie itself is more jump scares and loud noises.

But one of its best qualities is the noise. The sound design is done wonderfully to make each monster and each creature just feel unnatural. This movie should be watched in theaters so that you can experience the sound design in its fullest. 

Final thing to focus on is the story. The overarching story is an amazing story that could be its own story. And all the little stories and scary things are explained wonderfully through the rules explained in the movie. Though one of the bigger problems is its weird focus on draft dodging. Also another one of its flaws is a lot of the characters suffer from horror movie ignorance. But getting past that there is an entertaining movie.

“Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark”is a great movie to watch to get a fright and to see some amazing designs. For anyone who has read the stories it feels sort of nostalgic and for those who haven’t the movie should make you want to read the three books. 


This movie is good.


Grade: B- (3.9/5)