Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

It's high time to spotlight some modern horror on this show.

I've never read the source material of this movie, despite not only being born in the 90s, exposed to things like Goosebumps, and throughout the years have heard what a staple this was to many a childhood, so I really walked into this movie blind as a bat. I expected very much just a simple anthology movie with seperate adaptations of the stories from the book series, but it's a normal style of movie with a group of school friends who happen upon a book handwritten by their town's folktale monster, as the stories write themselves horror commences, leading our main character to resolve the situation and quell spirits of the past. It really isn't anything I haven't seen before but the film commits to it, and does an okay job at it all. I really wasn't expecting the time period of 1968 which actually has a strong stance throughout, it's not just some shallow basic background for the story, you see it in everything. The movie opens with Donovan's Season Of The Witch, one of our main characters is a draft dodger during the Vietnam War, the cars, the fashion, the films, all of it works and gels so well to really put you in that corner of the world. I really like our main group of kids, and I'll give you a buck good buddy if you can guess my favorite character in this movie. Am I too obvious? Easily. Of course it's the nerdy girl with a penchant for horror films and all things spooky. But the interactions they have feel genuine, and each actor plays it well even if they very much are in the stereotype camps. Wiseass kid, straight laced cautious kid, weird but nice girl, good looking male lead, and so on and so forth. I obviously can't speak to the faithfulness of the adapted stories but from the ultra f***ed up and skin crawlingly disturbing illustrations, they got the look of these monsters down and beautifully so. Yeah, it's blatant CG at times but other points it looks very real and genuine which I appreciate. Shockingly Guillermo del Toro had a hand in this and it really just made me wish he was in charge of directing and the story, and not even because it's poorly directed or a bad story. But you really ain't getting much innovation here in terms of cinematic horror, now maybe that's not what you expected or even wanted and just wished to see a scary but basic movie and I have no issue with that like, ever. I greatly respect and admire simple plots when all the elements click into place for me. It mostly did here but it was missing something that made me really like it. It has glimpses of that exquisite fall atmosphere, but it's just glimpses. It has a good cast but incredibly same-y characters. The plot is very predictable but still works in context of the film. It's just average, but sweet God am I thankful it was better than the last anthology Halloween film I reviewed, holy dog balls was that an utter f***ing disappointment of the century. So I will take a small victory here. 2.5 stars, 6.5/10, and the next film will quickly and silently be up tomorrow.

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