Roger Thomas Column: Something is missing from ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’

Published 6:51 am Thursday, August 29, 2019

When I see a certain kind of film, I hope for one thing. For some of you readers, I may have already told you.

I will start with the elements I really liked in “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” — and then I will tell you what I missed while I watched this film.

Roger Thomas

I thought the film was entertaining. Almost all of the elements of a horror film were there. I kept a count, watching for what I wanted. All the other events occurred on screen, or at least the ones for which I was hoping.

If you have read previous reviews of mine, and especially the ones of horror stories on films I have written about, you have read my writings about the one thing that thrills me the most. I would tell you now, but I think I will wait until the finish of this column.

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” has some fine young stars. Zoe Margaret Collette, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Zajur and Austin Abrams are a few that stand out.

I am not sure I have seen any of these actors in the past, but I hope to see them again. Perhaps the cast, or at least the ones that survived, might be in a sequel.

I would certainly attend a screening of “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Part 2.” The second part should be during a snow storm. Or maybe the kids could go on to a summer camp out in the woods.

As I said before, there is a lot of potential in the first film, so another would work. But once again, if there is a sequel, there is one little thing I want in the film.

Before I review that element that missed in my experience, allow me to offer a few other elements that enhanced the film.

One element I liked were the sets and lighting. The skills of these professional craftsmen often make the film much better than someone who is not as crafted.

Along with the lighting the film has some scenes that are bloody. What would one expect when the title is “Scary Stories?”

But now I should reveal my disappointment that bothered me the entire film. I have written in the past that often, almost every time I go to a horror film, at some point, I reach a moment when chill-bumps run up my leg. I do not make it happen. I would not know how to make it happen.

So I have to conclude, I liked the film. And I did. I liked the story. I really did. I liked the plot and the climax. And I liked the young stars and would like to see them in a sequel or something else with the same young actors.

I liked the film, but it did not scare me, and that disappointed me a little. There were no goosebumps going up or down my leg and I had hoped for them.

And just for a second opinion, I asked my daughter what she thought. She said, “It was good, but it was not scary.” Or in other words, well created, but no goosebumps.

All films cannot satisfy every film watcher all the time. Somewhere there is probably someone saying, “That was way too scary.”

Roger W. Thomas of Albemarle reviews films for The Stanly News & Press.