Review: ‘Scary Stories’ doesn’t have the same impact on adults as children

Sarah Mountain

Staff Writer

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” incited a lot of feelings in me in the fourth grade – adrenaline, excitement, intrigue, a little fear and a little rebellion. 

This was not the type of story I would normally go for, nor one that my parents would have liked for me to read.  

However, everyone else was reading it, which was enough for me to put my name on the waitlist to check it out from the library. 

I read the whole thing in one sitting and loved every minute of it. 

For those who did not come across it when they were younger, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” is a book that belongs to a trilogy of short, scary stories clearly meant for children.

 Each one is no more than a page and a half long, and each story is independent and completely different from the last. 

When I heard that a movie was coming out based on the books, I was excited, but also curious how they’d make a movie considering the books weren’t a novel and lacked a connecting theme across stories. 

As an adult, the movie was significantly less scary than I imagined it would be. 

Going back and reading the stories they used in the movie showed me that the stories weren’t scary to start with (unless you were a child), so it made sense that the films didn’t reach the level of horror found in modern scary movies.

Overall, the movie did not meet expectations regardless of the level of fear I felt as a child. 

While the directors connected the stories to make a cohesive movie, it mostly felt like a slightly different adaptation of the movie “IT.” 

The movie follows a basic storyline of an evil force targeting individual members of an angsty group of teenagers who then must find the pattern and determine what needs to happen to overcome the force. 

While it did illustrate a clearer plot than the stories did, the movie still included some fan favorite stories.

The movie begins with the story “The Haunted House,” which is the base plot for the entire film. 

The film version is loosely adapted from the story, which centers around a preacher staying in a haunted house and his encounters with the ghost that lives there. 

The movie utilizes this story to provide the backbone for the plot and create the character of Sarah Bellows and her magic book. 

Other popular stories that make it into the film are “The Red Spot” and “Harold.”

“The Red Spot” tells the story of a girl’s unsightly facial blemish bursting to allow baby spiders to escape.

Meanwhile, “Harold” is one of the most popular “Scary Stories,” telling the tale of a scarecrow who comes to life to take revenge on the farmers who have been treating him poorly. 

Overall, the movie was predictable and lacked a sense of suspense or mystery. The jump scares had entirely too much lead up. It felt like a DJ building up the music for four minutes only to have the most disappointing beat drop ever.

For those looking for a truly scary movie, you should save the $9 on “Scary Stories to Read in the Dark” and wait for a better horror movie to come out. 

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