Is Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark a Good Horror Movie?

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a horror movie based on the popular children’s book series of the same name by Alvin Schwartz. The film revolves around a group of teenagers who find a cursed book that brings their worst fears to life. While some viewers have praised the movie for its nostalgic value and effective scares, others have criticized it for its lack of originality and shallow characters.

Plot Summary

The movie is set in the small town of Mill Valley, Pennsylvania, in 1968. The main character is a teenage girl named Stella, who is fascinated by horror stories and spends her free time writing scary tales. One day, she and her friends find a hidden room in an abandoned mansion and discover a mysterious book belonging to a girl named Sarah Bellows, who was rumored to have been locked up by her family because she was disfigured.

As they read the book, they realize that the stories are coming true and that Sarah’s ghost is haunting them. Each story features one of the friends as the protagonist and involves supernatural creatures such as a scarecrow that comes to life or a pale lady who preys on children. The group must find a way to stop Sarah before she kills them all.

Horror Elements

For horror fans who enjoy jump scares and creepy imagery, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark delivers. The film has several tense moments that are sure to make viewers jump out of their seats. The creature designs are also impressive, particularly the pale lady who is genuinely unsettling.

However, some horror enthusiasts may be disappointed with the lack of gore or explicit violence in the movie. While there are some disturbing images, such as spiders crawling out of someone’s face or a corpse coming back to life, most of the scares rely on suspense rather than shock value.

Nostalgia Factor

One aspect of the movie that has received a lot of praise is its nostalgia factor. The film is set in the late 1960s and features several references to pop culture from that era, such as music by Donovan and posters for Planet of the Apes. This adds to the overall atmosphere and makes the movie feel like a throwback to classic horror films.

The inclusion of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series also appeals to fans who grew up reading them. Seeing their favorite stories come to life on the big screen is a treat for those who have fond memories of the books.


One major criticism of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is its lack of strong characters. While Stella and her friends have distinct personalities, they are not given much depth or development throughout the movie. They are mostly used as plot devices to advance the story rather than fully-realized individuals.

This can make it difficult for viewers to become invested in their fates and ultimately takes away from the impact of some of the scares.


So, is Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark a good horror movie? It depends on what you’re looking for.

If you enjoy classic horror films with suspenseful scares and a nostalgic feel, then this movie may be right up your alley. However, if you’re looking for something more original or character-driven, you may be disappointed.

Regardless, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is worth watching for its impressive creature designs and effective jump scares. Just don’t expect it to reinvent the horror genre or leave a lasting impression on you once it’s over.