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: 221

72%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 8,237
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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 (221) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (173) | Rotten (48)

  • These and other spooky specters are memorably incarnated, to be sure. But I'm pretty easy to scare, and I can't say I found the movie, directed by Norway's Andre Ovredal of 2010's excellent Trollhunter, all that scary.

    January 6, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Scary Stories struggles to get around to making whatever additional point it had, instead using a wealth of in-between scenes to justify its feature-length format.

    December 6, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Good bones are what keep Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark upright.

    November 21, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The tension builds, the special effects are gruesome, and most of all the film is fun for both young and old moviegoers.

    November 12, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Blame the high expectations, but this adaptation feels bland and vague. Trailers should never be better than the actual movie. In this case they were. [Full review in Spanish].

    November 12, 2019 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • The plot is fun, the stories are creepy, and I enjoyed every minute of it. But just as is often true, the books were better than the movie.

    October 31, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

  • 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
  • Nov 10, 2019
    Surprisingly the connective narrative between the various "stories" proves to be the strongest material and the horror set pieces aren't bad either.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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