There are few children’s books that are more formatted – or more controversial – than Alvin Schwartz’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”, a collection of short horror stories with illustrations by Stephen Gammell that have been viewed under bed for generations by generations. Schwartz and Gammell manage to capture the imagination of kids too old for “Goosebumps” but not quite ready for Stephen King, mixing folk, creepy robber stories with drawings that are somehow even worse than what you envisioned in your head. The resulting nightmares made the book (and its sequels) so horrible that they were thrown out of many American libraries and schools in the 1990s
An attempt to create that effect for today’s adolescents, a new adaptation of Schwartz and Gammell directed by André Øvredal (who brought us the unjustly neglected “Troll Hunter” but also the scary movie “The Autopsy” of Jane Doe) and produced by Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water , Pan’s Labyrinth, The Orphanage) is a refreshingly true work of nostalgic love, reviving iconic monsters with the respect they deserve.
The film follows a group of children who found an old book in an abandoned mansion in 1968. From the moment the book is invented, chaos begins and the horror stories of the book become reality.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has an impressive 81 percent, on IMDb 6.5, and viewers say it’s one of the best horror films of recent years.