Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Critics Consensus

Like the bestselling series of books that inspired it, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark opens a creepy gateway into horror for younger genre enthusiasts.

78%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 226

72%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 8,242

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Movie Info

It's l968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind... but seemingly far removed from the unrest in the cities is the small town of Mill Valley where for generations, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large. It is in their mansion on the edge of town that Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time--stories that have a way of becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah's terrifying tome.

Cast

Zoe Margaret Colletti
as Stella Nicholls
Michael Garza
as Ramon Morales
Gabriel Rush
as Auggie Hilderbrandt
Austin Abrams
as Tommy Milner
Dean Norris
as Roy Nicholls
Gil Bellows
as Chief Turner
Austin Zajur
as Chuck Steinberg
Natalie Ganzhorn
as Ruth Steinburg
Kathleen Pollard
as Sarah Bellows
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News & Interviews for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Critic Reviews for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

All Critics (226) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (176) | Rotten (50)

  • The plot takes many twists with an ingeniously designed set of monsters creating havoc at regular intervals.

    September 25, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • The film... is a loving and faithful adaptation, even if it gets lost in its attempt to wrap the whole thing up in a neat metaphor.

    August 30, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The genre tropes are all alive and well and Scary Stories delivers them with élan but the dispiriting ending hangs over everything like a pall.

    August 29, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Proof, once again, that a creaky floorboard, judiciously used, is worth more than any expensive digital trickery.

    August 26, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Scary Stories hits with the scares as much as it misses with the storytelling, levelling out to a glass half full.

    August 22, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Øvredal's sense of horror is neither notably stark nor significantly ornamental; it's nearly textureless, as if it had been squeezed from a tube.

    August 16, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

  • Apr 27, 2020
    Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a mediocre horror film from Guillermo del Toro. Based on the popular book series, a group of misfit teenagers explore a haunted house where they find a book belonging to a witch that begins to write stories in blood foretelling each of their deaths. The script is pretty formulaic and the creatures are rather tame (kind of what you'd expect from a kids book series). Still, the sets and costumes are well done and set the right tone and feel for the time period. And there's a powerful message about the power of storytelling. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has its problems, but it's entertaining and delivers a few chills.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 07, 2020
    The film is stylish and offers some interesting story beats for the adaptation. Impressive horror troupes can't overcome a forced storyline though, but knowing the source material, they did quite well. The film feels like a series starter, and in this day and age, it's starting to grow tiresome. The story is contained with the ending, but there has been little news regarding sequels. The characters are well cast and I thought the historic setting was fitting. I did enjoy the film, even if the story was needlessly complicated for its target audience. The filmmaker and writers were creative and respectful to the source material, and on that front they have done very well. The film won't be for everyone, some truly creepy moments here. It's nice to see a creative horror film, not reliant on jump scares and shock horror. Remember this was never aimed for older audiences and you'll enjoy something entertaining. 04/01/2020
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Dec 28, 2019
    I was a little bit disappointed by Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but I say that with the caveat of it being one movie that I went into with high expectations - something I generally try to avoid having if I can. There is a lot I liked, creature effects, probably top of that list, but the story feels disconnected and for me had an unsatisfying resolution.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 09, 2019
    It's a film of great moments more than an overall feeling. When it's Scary Stories, it's great. Adapting stories like Harold or Jangly Man, they don't follow the originals exactly, but capture their spirit and have some genuinely creepy moments. However, then there's the stuff in between with the teenagers solving the mystery of the book and that stuff gets really hokey. The lead girl's acting also sways back and forth wildly. Sometimes she's genuinely incredible, other times she's soap opera melodramatic. Then of course we have our studio mandated "maybe things aren't so bad" ending that puts a bow on top. So yeah, it's a mixed bag. But as everyone else has said, it's good gateway horror. There are some genuinely creepy scenes that have a ton of creativity behind how they pull of their scares that I really wish more horror would attempt. But then you have you're Nancy Drew time-is-running out mystery they cut back to. I'm conflicted on this one. However, the stuff that's good is just too good to miss for fans of the book series.
    Michael M Super Reviewer

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