Parent reviews for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Common Sense says

Scary but very entertaining movie based on classic books.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 59 reviews
Adult Written bySarahMcKay1964 August 8, 2019

The trailer is misleading!

I am a parent of 5 kids, one of them is 12 and really wanted to go see this movie. And me hating scary movies, I immediately said “I’m not going to go see that”. So, after fighting and fighting, I agreed to go see it with him. And to be honest it was a pretty decent movie. I didn’t have to cover my eyes once, it was scary but on a “Signs” or “Sixth Sense” level. The trailer was very misleading by being scarier than the actual film. That trailer makes the movie look like a heart attack kabob. Entertaining 7.5/10 movie!
Adult Written byTurtleKid2001 August 13, 2019

Good story, but scary

Lots of scary monsters and demons, some with dead messed up faces. Lots of jumpscares. Teens talk about a young girl hanging herself.

A very good story but lot of scary stuff (no gore tho).

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Adult Written byA very sensible... September 9, 2019

The truth

Now I know what your all thinking!!! Yes it’s a horror but nowhere near as bad as other pg-13 horrors !!! Yes it’s quite disturbing but great for a family movie!! Great for mature 10 year olds.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 10-year-old Written byLINCOLN B. August 9, 2019

Best Horror movie ever made!

I grew up on the scary stories books, so seeing this movie was amazing The movie isnt very violent, but there are a lot of jumpscares and
Adult Written byLUCY ANN CRAIN105 November 7, 2019

pretty good

OK comma sense media should have raated this 12+ the pen is shown for 7 seconds. The movie could have been rated PG if it were not for swearing and the pen

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byMjmccarthy August 21, 2019

Traumatized my 13-year-old...

I grew up reading the books, and honestly I did not think the movie was that scary. The acting was so-so and the dialogue is cringe-worthy. However, I took my 13-year-old nephew last night and we had to leave early. He didn’t appear to be extra sensitive to horror movies, in fact he had mentioned several that he had seen before. I don’t know what it is about the imagery of this film but certain characters, especially the pale lady, kept him up all night. I thought he was joking about how frightened he was! Anyone who has sensitive kiddos, even though it is PG-13, keep in mind there is some pretty horrifying imagery.
Adult Written byDpphilipps November 10, 2019

Not bad

The production value of the movie is really good. We're big Guillermo del Toro fans and the monsters don't disappoint. There is a slight bit of Gore, but the goriest monster is CG. There may have been a couple of s words I don't remember exactly but the language wasn't bad. Also there are no inappropriate sexual situations that made me feel uncomfortable while watching this with my kids. My youngest is 12 years old. In a way, it's like a little scarier version of the Goosebumps movie. there is some violence but it's not over the top. There is some violence but it is not over the top. But overall it wasn't a downer it wasn't too scary it wasn't inappropriate to watch with my 12 year old. And most importantly he wasn't scared to go to bed. He did cover his eyes during moments of the movie but he is over at 12 after all.
Adult Written bylusherman September 29, 2019

Don’t bother

Not scary, slurs

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Parent Written byAsiyah September 27, 2019

Jump scares, great CGI, what's not to like?

I took my almost 12 year old to see this movie. There were definitely moments where we covered our eyes but that just made it all the more enjoyable. Overall the profanity and violence wasn't over the top. Plus it had a retro feel like IT and Stranger Things that is so popular now. Really good movie but only appropriate for older tweens and teens who like scary movies.
Parent of a 16-year-old Written byZazo July 1, 2020

Very fun

This movie is very nice if a teen wants to see a horror movie, its not graphic, but it does build tension and its actually scary, theres almost no blood, but its not like those pg13 that wash out blood where there should be, so its very clever with its use of violence, theres a pimple scene, wasnt scary, but its pretty gross and May be a bit disturbing for some

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Parent of a 11 and 15-year-old Written byatrick6 March 27, 2020

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.
Adult Written byFlowerpower8760 March 24, 2020

Haven't seen it, but...

I don't suggest watching certain parts of the film if you're

A. especially sensitive to violence
B. suffering from a weak stomach.

Kids might be traumatized by the scarecrow scene, where (spoilers)

A boy who had been tormenting the scarecrow for days was impaled with a pitchfork, but started coughing up straw and hay, eventually losing his ability to speak as he could only gag from straw--his hands and fingernails became straw, his hair and ears filled with straw which kept growing back, his skin began to rot and the veins turned black, his wounds bled straw, and his eyes ultimately sunk into black sockets until the viewer is treated with a delightful image of the boy vomiting up his organs (which appears as a fantastic spew of straw) as a jumpscare.

Good story,
But as I said, if your stomach or if your kid's stomach isn't strong, they might get sick from this scene.
Adult Written byNic S. November 9, 2019

Not the best

Too violent and scary for younger audiences. It plays out very similar to Stephen kings it movie

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byTeeEmmEmmCee November 6, 2019

Does the original printings justice

For those who may not know, this movie was intended to represent not just the books of the same name, but the original printings of said books, with the more horrific illustrations; in that manner, it succeeds very well.

Some of the movie is preachy; we get it, Nixon bad, in some measure "the right" is bad, but that's easy to dismiss. The movie itself is fairly well acted, lots of fun, humorous and just raunchy enough that teens should love it.

Violence is minimal, though the scares contain threats of violence and there are plenty of disturbing scenes and images; the scene with the bizarre woman in the hospital was thematically mature but not graphic in the slightest, for example.

More language than I expected, but nothing outright offensive for teens. Sexy stuff is minimal, though there are angles played for humor. Some literal toilet humor, which ends up fairly funny.

All in all, as a child who read the original books who's now taking my teenagers to this movie, it's very good. Thank you, Mr. Del Toro.
Parent of a 13-year-old Written byPeodyfre67 October 28, 2019


Honestly a really great PG-13 horror movies, which isn't very common.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Violence & scariness
Adult Written byT J September 14, 2019

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 14-year-old Written byPhobbs1983 August 22, 2019
Parent of a 8-year-old Written byKill Bill vol .1 August 21, 2019
Adult Written byBuddyfam August 20, 2019

Great horror movie for new comers!

I thought that is was a great movie! I am 13 years old and I am just starting off on horror movies. There were some gory scenes and some minor language, but I thought that it was the perfect horror movie for older tweens or younger teens. In my opinion there were too many jump scares that might frighten younger viewers ( I counted 8 jump scares in total!). I grew up reading the book series by Alvin Schwartz that the movie was based on and I thought that it did a great job bringing the stories to life! A must see for horror fans young or old.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Parent of a 9 and 12-year-old Written byLeslie C. August 12, 2019