Parents' Guide to

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Scary but very entertaining movie based on classic books.

Movie PG-13 2019 111 minutes
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 29 parent reviews

age 11+

Not that scary

I was a bit dissapointed about this movie, thought it would be scarier. Works for older kids who likes spooky movies, good for halloween.

This title has:

Too much violence
5 people found this helpful.
age 11+

Finally found a pretty good horror movie for my daughter

My 11-year-old girl thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It’s not that scary. She was mostly traumatized that the monster she liked had to go away in the end. It was good enough that I didn’t mind watching it with her. My 15-year-old was a little too old for it but he didn’t mind watching either. There’s no adult content at all and nothing lewd. The 14+ rating on common sense Just wrong. The message about how stories affect people is good but it’s basically mindless entertainment.
4 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (29):
Kids say (109):

Somewhat similar in mood and tone to It, this hugely entertaining scary story has its own delightfully demonic vibe, with strong characters, striking atmosphere, and furious frights. Based on a collection of short horror stories from the early 1980s by Alvin Schwartz (with horrific illustrations by Stephen Gammell), which was intended for kids, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark cooks up its own mythology as a way of packaging the books' mini-tales into a cohesive story. Set in 1968, the movie conjures up a kind of freedom in which the young heroes have the space and gumption to run about town and do their own thing. (Stella's room is filled with classic horror movie posters and monster magazines, as well as a half-finished tale in her typewriter.) We love hanging out with them, and their ghost chase is as secretly thrilling as it is scary.

It begins on Halloween night, and then Night of the Living Dead is playing at the drive-in, while Vietnam hovers in the background and Richard Nixon's re-election is right around the corner. Oscar-winning filmmaker/monster-maker Guillermo Del Toro -- who co-wrote Scary Stories' screenplay with his Trollhunters co-writers Dan and Kevin Hageman -- seems to have added the Ramon character as a way to highlight bigotry, which can be just as scary as ghosts. At the helm, talented Norwegian director Andre Ovredal keeps a measured, tense pace and uses physical space -- including the haunted Bellows house, a cornfield, a creepy hospital, and even a bedroom -- to great shocking effect. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has the stuff to become a perennial re-watch when the frost is on the pumpkin.

Movie Details

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