Made a rare trip out to the AMC Nacogdoches the other day for a matinee showing of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I haven’t read the book series, but I was curious about how del Toro would follow up his Oscar winning The Shape of Water.

Set on Halloween 1968, and for a few days after, Scary Stories follows Stella and her friends as they visit a haunted house where she steals a book of stories, and a new story is added for each of the kids who were in the house.

The bully that locked them in the basement gets tormented by a scarecrow.

The non-believer is dragged to the underworld by a corpse looking for her missing toe.

The vain older sister gets a spider-filled pimple from Hell to pop.

The nervous kid gets swallowed whole by a monster that makes whale-like noises.

And the new kid gets chased by a zombie while Stella winds up back in the haunted house with its previous owners.

Its an interesting collection of stories that kind of fails to add up to anything really great. There are also several attempts to return or destroy the book during the day, and each story starts up at night, except one. And each story is one at a time, except at the end, when two are concurrent.

And it did set itself up for a sequel, since there are multiple books in the series.

Among the teen actors, I did not recognize a one of ’em, but the adults are played by Dean Norris from Breaking Bad and Gil Bellows from Ally McBeal.

I was surprised to still see it playing locally, and I almost had the theater to myself. Maybe August isn’t the best month to release scary movies?

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