It is notoriously hard to make a PG-13 horror film that is actually scary and/or creepy. It takes a perfect balance of imagery to push it just to the limit. Director Andre Overdal did just that. It really is impressive. At one point I found myself wondering how the film was pg-13 because it’s so creepy. Which, I then quickly reminded myself that the books “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” were FOR CHILDREN FOR SOME REASON. I read them at such a young age that, I think, it explains a lot about my love of true crime and horror films and books, in general.
I did not think I could ever be more creeped out by Stephen Gammel’s illustrations from the original books, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”. And, yet, here we are. With a story written by Guillermo del Toro (along with several others), and him serving as a producer on the film, I expected nothing less than excellence when it came to special and visual effects. I was not let down. Overdal, teamed up with the visual effects company Mr. X, one that del Toro has collaborated with on numerous occasions. The result was a plethora of unsettling imagery, nearly identical to Gammel’s illustrations.
The special effects makeup was phenomenal. It’s so refreshing to see practical elements and not just CGI. There are so many talented artists out there. Their work should be seen. Plus, I personally think that having certain elements be practical make a horror film that much scarier.
I am quite impressed with the main story that was written and how the short stories from the books were weaved throughout. Nothing about it felt forced and it flowed together nicely.
This film introduces a whole new generation to the Alvin Schwartz books. So, you know, a whole new generation of children can be traumatized by Gammel’s illustrations well into adulthood. And then we can all watch our nightmares unfold on screen and cry about it together.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is incredibly fun and plenty creepy. It is currently in theaters. It’s definitely worth the money.