BEIRUT: It truly has been a rather dull summer at the box office, and regardless of the numbers no film has genuinely excited the mass audience on an emotionally lasting level.
Instead, the releases this season have been made up of sequels, remakes, and reboots with little to no care, and this is not resting well within the hearts of film enthusiasts.
So, with little options available, a Guillermo Del Toro produced horror flick seems to be the lesser of two evils – pun intended.
It all begins in 1968 in sleepy Mill Valley, during a time of turmoil. That is until outcast teenagers Stella, Ramon, Chuck and Auggie dare to explore their town’s infamously creepy haunted house, where the reportedly murderous Sarah Bellows lived, and discover within a book that proves to have colossal supernatural powers.
Almost immediately, the book changes their fates and one by one, they find themselves living out the stories Sarah chooses to tell…Harold, The Big Toe, The Red Spot and more… as each is inexorably summoned to do battle with their own most uniquely terrifying dreads.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a mix between a horror tale and an ode to films produced by Amblin studios.
The film has very grounded, funny, real characters battling evil forces from the realms of fables and monsters. Yet it balances the energy and adrenaline you get from horror with the positive vibes found in the Hollywood adventures that made us all fall in love with movies as kids.
The ensemble of young actors succeeds in giving the film some heart, though they’re not the greatest collection of on-screen talent. The highlight of the film was in fact, and to no surprise to anyone, the film’s monsters.
Manifesting directly from the mind of the master of horror Guillermo Del Toro the various monsters in the film from the scarecrow, to the toe-less undead, blob-like pale creatures, and the icing on the cake in the form of the Jangly Man, they offer they audience entertaining scares and gruesome sequences.
Del Toro wearing the producer’s helmet in this case, proved smart as the film’s use of practical effects is utterly on point.
Each element of the film, from the characters to the set dressings, harks back to the primal allure of classic scary stories but also feels fresh though at times a bit cheesy or childish.
Audiences will have a fearful but wonderful time in the theater, get some shocks, but also walk away with a sense of adventure they weren’t expecting from a horror story.
In the final minutes of Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark it becomes clear that for all that Stella has lost and learned amid the unsettling events in Mill Valley, there is more for her to uncover and more tales for her to tell. The door is left open for more stories, and that makes sense because the fascination for scary stories never gets old.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark can be seen at Vox Cinemas, catch it before it exits the screening rooms.
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