Starring: Michael Garza, Zoe Margaret Colletti, Gabriel Rush, Austin Zajur, Dean Norris, Austin Abrams
Director: André Øvredal
Release date: 23rd August 2019
It’s 1968 and in the small US town of Mill Valley, it’s Halloween. Three teenage friends, Augie, Chuck and Stella, are getting ready to go out trick or treating and everyone is excited for the night ahead. While out, they decide to get revenge on the school bully but things backfire horribly. Hiding out in the Drive-In, they jump into a car, occupied by a young guy who’s not from the town. Very apprehensive at first, he decides to help them out. After chatting for a bit, Stella tells the stranger that she knows of a haunted house that they can visit and so they all head off down there to see if they can get inside. Abandoned for many years, the old mansion is in a desperate state of repair but this doesn’t stop the four teens breaking in for an exploration. Stella begins to tell the story of the owners, the very rich Bellows Family, who all disappeared mysteriously…..
The film is based on a series of short horror stories, written for teenagers by the author Alvin Schwartz. The first book, ‘Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark’ was published back in 1982, with the second, ‘More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark’ published in 1984 and the third, ‘Scary Stories: More Tales to Chill Your Bones’ was published in 1991.
The movie feels a little like ‘Goosebumps’ on acid, though it’s definitely not a film for kids or even teens. There’s still the connection of the books and their stories having consequences but that’s really where the comparison ends. With a small ensemble cast and a pretty decent story, we are taken on a journey of horror, mystery and suspense. Rated 15a it’s not really in the league of some of the more gorey horror films that you may have seen, but it is still full of stuff that will make you jump and even cover your eyes in places (all I’ll say is, toe.. bleurgh..)
It’ll keep you entertained from start to finish and also keep you guessing right up until the end. Just remember to take a clean pair of undies with you!