Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has a Final Destination feel attached to its ghost story. While I still enjoyed it, the trailer definitely shows too much.
I actually did a double-feature this weekend. Brian Banks was a must but there were several other movies in theaters that I needed to see. I settled on Scary Stories to tell in the Dark (Scary Stories going forward) and I’m glad I did. While there was a lot to dislike about it for me, it was definitely a creepy and entertaining movie. It has done well in the box office thus far and should continue to do so.
As the events in Scary Stories began to unfold, I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching a creepier version of Final Destination. From the way people were being picked off one-by-one and in order, to the fact that they spent time trying to figure out who was next, and the fact that they used an ominous dark fog to show who was being targeted at times. It was hard not to notice.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was more creepy than scary though it did have its moments. Throughout the movie I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching a ghostly version of Final Destination.
I’ve said this multiple times now but that’s the best comparison I can make. A group of kids go to a creepy house and discover a creepy book. By taking the book they awaken the ghost who wrote the stories in it and she starts to come for them one by one. Every kid that came to the house is in danger, and the only question is what order are they going to be pursued in.
In Final Destination you have the kids who were taken off a plane that was going to blow up being pursued by death because they were supposed to have died. When the main kid figures it out, he’s also able to figure out the order and work to try to prevent it. He’s successful a few times and in Scary Stories, so are our kids. The only thing missing is the ghost working in a specific order. They even have a moment where they go to an older black person (portrayed by Lorraine Toussaint) to get guidance on how to deal with their issue. In Final Destination this was Toni Todd’s character.
Make no mistake, I’m not saying they ripped off Final Destination but that was the vibe that I got.
One of the beefs I had with Scary Stories was the overuse of Richard Nixon. At first it felt like they were just trying to help put us into the time period but then they just kept going back to him. I don’t know if they were trying to make parallels to Trump or what but it started to become annoying at a certain point.
However, on one hand it kind of helped to give you frame of reference for the passage of time.
Trailer showed too much
I talk about this in every review. It’s one of the many factors that can dramatically affect my enjoyment of a movie. In this particular case it had a huge negative impact. The trailer shows you almost all of the creatures from the stories. I can imagine seeing them for the first time making them way creepier but since I knew what to expect it wasn’t as bad. I could prepare for them.
If I recall correctly, the trailer even shows them somewhat in order. I really wish marketing teams or whoever it is that cuts trailers would take this into consideration more often. Leave something to the imagination. Please.
If you haven’t caught on by now I write my reviews stream-of-consciousness and I just realized I didn’t tell a real synopsis of the story or name any of the actors besides Lorraine. There are two reasons for this. One, the trailer gives you all the detail you need and two, the actors aren’t that memorable or important to your enjoyment of the movie.
All of the negative things aside, I still liked the movie. Had I not seen the trailer I know I would have liked it more though and that’s always an annoying feeling. I’m putting the trailer at the end here because I want to tell you that you only need to watch, maybe, the first minute and 15 seconds of it to know if you’re interested.