Scary Stories To Tell In The 80s
It’s hard to frighten a seasoned horror audience who’ve been thrown every unnerving visual under the sun, but ‘Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark’ doesn’t even come close - it simply isn’t scary enough. It’s an adaptation, and it feels that way.
Alvin Schwartz’s set of terrifying make-believes frightened children of the eighties and opened the door to controversy over whether these horrifying tales breached the line of acceptability. Andre Øvredal, director of the latest instalment in the franchise, couldn’t quite nail it. Watching a Doctor Who style version of Mr Blobby running down a hospital corridor merely passed the comedy test.
An adaptation of a classic has to do justice to the original, which was released in the time of horror hall of famers - in the midst of ‘The Evil Dead’ (1981) and ‘Friday The 13th’ (1980). Scary Stories wouldn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel in the scary department and therefore we can’t give this film the benefit of the doubt.
Praise has to be given to Michael Garza, who you may have spotted as part of The Hunger Games series, a slightly more thrilling book adaptation. But the American high school back and forth drew away from the thrill, as it struggled to pin down the moments of stomach-churning tension that left you on the edge, the hands in front of your face horror.
The modern tampering with CGI no doubt carved up some marvellous visual creations, leaving behind any kind of purpose other then what appeared to be experimentation with Schwartz’s innovation that pre-dated any scope for cinematic technology. Monsters and ghouls, sure, but lacking maturity. Eyebrow-raising deaths brought about small chuckles, similar to the feeling of Final Destination (2000).
A horror fan of the current era would be mildly disappointed. Stephen Gammell’s book illustrations almost 40 years ago were enough to ignite fear in the eyes of readers, but this is not quite going to cut it in the new-age horror sphere.