A Dark and Scary Story

A movie that’s best watched in the dark


Photo provided by birthmoviedeath.com

A collection of short stories made into a film based on the novel Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

Grace Hager, Staff Reporter

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark the movie was based on short stories composed into a novel by Alvin Schwartz. The references made were both big and small for everyone to enjoy. If you’ve never read the book you would be able to follow along well enough to fully understand what’s happening, but for the people who have read the book and may have more knowledge about it, there are small references to some other stories as well.

The story starts on Halloween in 1968 with four teenagers in a small Pennsylvania town. Stella Nicholls (Zoe Margaret Colletti), Chuck Steinberg (Austin Zajur), Auggie Hilderbrandt (Gabriel Rush) and drifter Ramón Morales (Michael Garza) pull a prank on the town bully, Tommy Milner (Austin Abrams). They all try to hide from Tommy because he was trying to beat them up so they went to hide in an old haunted house that belonged to the Bellows family in the 1800s.

The movie started gradually and as a more comedic film, but then took a turn for the worst.

They all went into the house and found a secret room where the previous family, the Bellows, kept their “different” daughter, Sarah Bellows (Kathleen Pollard). Then came Tommy, who locked the gang into the room. Sarah then let them out, but not before Stella had stolen her book and had asked Sarah to tell her a story (which is known to kill anyone who had asked).

What I was thinking though is that the puzzling aspect of this scene was the idea that nobody was concerned or curious as to who had let them out of Sarah’s chamber. Tommy had left at that point, so there was nobody else around. Surely, the characters would’ve been confused with the situation.

It seems like every horror movie character lacks common sense. They always do the things that will get them killed. I always find myself screaming either at the screen or in my head at the characters. No sane person would go to a haunted house at night in the middle of nowhere.

This movie ended up being as if it was unplanned on how the directors wanted to piece together the scary stories into one plot line. The monsters who attacked the main characters were irregular. It would’ve been easier to understand and more enthralling for the audience if each monster had a bigger, longer buildup.

When Chuck, one of the main characters, got attacked, it was executed undoubtedly well. They led up to his monster by explaining his fear 15-20 minutes before he got attacked, but when it was Ramón’s turn it didn’t lead up to it at all. It seemed as if his fear was spontaneous or made up. The premise of the movie is that the monster each character fears the most will come for them. It was difficult to understand how or why each character was afraid of each monster. It was almost as if the directors made up a monster for each character just because they could, not because the characters were afraid of them.

Now I know some people like the idea of randomness, chaos and jump scares, but not me. I like to know the backstory for why that specific monster is targeting that person. With all the random jump scares and made up monsters, I was confused, and I don’t like to be confused during a movie.

Sarah Bellows was known to have a physical illness that made her look different. So what her family did was lock her up into a hidden room in the walls, not just because she looked different, but because she knew about the family business. The Bellows were killing children by putting mercury into the water. And why you may ask. We don’t know. That’s upsetting.

They only mentioned what she had at the end very quickly and to be honest I missed it. So I had to do some research and thanks to www.inverse.com I now know that she suffered from Achromasia Albinism, a genetic disorder when some of the genes responsible for pigment don’t work properly. And then, in turn, their hair, eyes and skin all appear lighter.

The acting in this movie was considerably better than other movies and I was decently surprised. I was glad to see that. I’ve seen some movies with some really atrocious acting. And honestly, I didn’t have too much hope for this film. It turned up surprising me throughout.

The way they ended it was adequate. They made it ready for a second movie. I would most definitely go to see the second movie. Especially after the ending cliffhanger. I always love when movies this way it makes you think about what’s going to happen next.

This movie was satisfactory despite my confusion and dislikes, so I would rate this movie about a 7.5/10. So a little higher than IMDb by one point at a 6.5/10.