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.



Total Count: 215


Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 8,161
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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.


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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Critic Reviews for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

All Critics (215) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (169) | Rotten (46)

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

    Sep 25, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/5 | 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.

    Aug 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.

    Aug 26, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | 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.

    Aug 16, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Impressively gruesome and thematically rich, drawing on political allegory that goes far beyond the simple spooks and scares of the stories themselves.

    Aug 11, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Katie Walsh

    Top Critic
  • If there ever was a case of a film adaptation improving on the original source material, this is it.

    Aug 9, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

  • Aug 11, 2019
    Based on the popular horror anthology for children, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a fun, spooky appetizer for tweens and teens, and those who remember what it was like, as they transition into horror. Set in 1968, we follow a group of marginalized teenagers who come across a haunted book that is literally writing vengeful stories with their names in them. The stories are plucked from the books and brought to wonderful life with ghastly impressive practical makeup effects that eerily mirror the illustrations by Stephen Gammel. I wouldn't call the movie disturbing or gory or even overly gross, but it can be unnerving at times drawing upon the suspense of someone hiding and/or worrying about what is advancing without recourse. I had some quality squirming in my seat in this movie. It's a simple yet effective formula that is played well by director André Øvredal (The Autopsy of Jane Doe). Even when the signature vignettes aren't on display, I was enjoying spending time with the teenage characters and watching them try and navigate being different in a small town, feeling lost or misunderstood, and really trying to decipher some system of rules with the haunted book. It feels akin to a Final Destination where a small band of characters are doomed and have to out think their supernatural boogeyman before the next one is picked off. It's just enough that the movie doesn't feel like it's losing too much momentum when we have to transition back to the original material after leaving the scary story stars, the monsters. This is an enjoyable throwback to 80s children's movies that were allowed to be a little creepy, a little odd, a little spooky, and not so safe and mundane. It's also a fun movie for your more macabre-enchancted youngin's out there and older adults that remember being macabre-enchanted youngin's themselves. Nate's Grade: B
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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