6.4/10 (‎18,407 votes)
79% (211 reviews)


Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Movie Details

Directed by André Øvredal
Produced by
  • Guillermo del Toro
  • Sean Daniel
  • Jason F. Brown
  • J. Miles Dale
  • Elizabeth Grave
  • Joshua Long
  • Roberto Grande
Screenplay by
  • Dan Hageman
  • Kevin Hageman
Story by
  • Guillermo del Toro
  • Patrick Melton
  • Marcus Dunstan
Based on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
  • Zoe Colletti
  • Michael Garza
  • Gabriel Rush
  • Austin Zajur
  • Natalie Ganzhorn
  • Austin Abrams
  • Dean Norris
  • Gil Bellows
  • Lorraine Toussaint
Music by
  • Marco Beltrami
  • Anna Drubich
Cinematography Roman Osin
Edited by Patrick Larsgaard
Production company
  • CBS Films
  • Entertainment One
  • 1212 Entertainment
  • Double Dare You Productions
  • Sean Daniel Company
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release date
  • August 9, 2019 (United States)
Running time
108 minutes
 United States

  • Canada
Language English
Budget $25–28 million
Box office $94.3 million


This one turned out to be a disappointment for me. I had no idea about the original source material; but the trailer came across as fairly creepy, which gave me optimism for this movie. Sadly that optimism was drained out of me quite quickly.

Taking place on Halloween of 1968, a group of teens is playing at a creepy old mansion which was said to be the home of a tortured young girl called Sarah Bellows. The legend went that she was locked away by herself, but would tell scary stories to kids through the walls. When Stella (Zoe Margaret Colletti) finds a book of scary stories she takes it away with her. This would be a terrible mistake however as the book would begin to write new stories by itself, each of which would come true in real life, with horrific conclusions for those kids that were with her in the mansion that night.

So I have to be honest. I found most of this film boring. For starters in felt as though it took an age for anything remotely scary to happen. So much time was spent building up the back story for Sarah Bellows and her book of scary stories, that I wondered when we were actually going to get to one of these stories.

When the stories eventually start happening I have to admit that I was underwhelmed. Considering how few stories are actually told in this film, most came and went surprisingly quickly. It felt as though they were rushing each of these stories so that they could move on to the next set up. This really bothered me because I felt like there was potential for something interesting; just not in this format.

In my opinion, this could have worked so much better as a TV series. Maybe 10-13 episodes, each between 20-30 minutes long. It would have given more time for each of the scary stories to be explored in more detail, allowing us time to learn the background of the characters, build up the tension, then have a satisfying payoff.

A couple of the stories I did like were the one with the spot and the one involving a red room. They were well-directed and one of them did make me squirm a little – although part of that was due to its relation to a certain phobia I already had.
The costumes and make-up were undeniably impressive. It was in the way these monsters were brought to life that I really felt the impact of producer Guillermo del Toro. Known for helping young horror film directors, I think ‘The Autopsy of Jane Doe’ director Andre Ovredal was probably helped a lot by del Toro on this project.

In terms of the performances, I wasn’t all that impressed. I thought Colletti was the pick of the bunch, with the rest of the kids being incredibly forgettable. Austin Abrams I only remember because I’ve seen him in a few films and am currently watching him in the TV series ‘Euphoria’. Gil Bellows has a supporting role as the town’s sheriff. The only thing I ever thought of when I saw him though is how he’s not done much with his career since his role as Billy in one of my favorite ever comedy shows ‘Ally McBeal’. The truth is I didn’t think the characters were written well enough for me to care about them.

I wish I could tell you that Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was a surprise gem in the summer. Unfortunately, it failed to live up to its potential. Poorly written characters, a severe lack of scares and the audacity to try to set up a sequel – please no!


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