BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Blu-ray Review

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

There are things you probably know when approaching a scary-looking house that has long been abandoned.  If you have to break a lock in order to get in, then you should probably run in the opposite direction.  Quickly.  The teenagers in this horror film, from producer Guillermo Del Toro, pay a heavy price for not doing that as soon as they pick the lock.  And it is all thanks to a book that writes its own stories.

"Everything about it - from its tone to its characters and its setting - hits all those haunted Halloween highs just right"


That’s right, at the center of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, is an evil book that does its own storytelling.  Unfortunately, for the teenagers in the movie, they are the main characters and their deaths are rather grim and ALWAYS at the hands of some twisted creature that one would definitely NOT want to meet anywhere . . . even in a field of corn.

From scarecrows to the Jangly Man (a creature that can put itself back together), this film - directed by André Øvredal - is frightening, creative, and a whole lot of creepy fun.  It also has a striking atmosphere that never quits during its running time.  All that makes this horror film a resounding win in my book.  Based on a series of anthology-styled books, screenwriters Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman, producer Guillermo del Toro, Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan have created something small town and very identifiable.

Occurring after Halloween, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and its release date makes a whole lot of sense.  I mean, we have a lot of horror stories about the Halloween season, but what happens after All Hallow’s Eve?  Does the horror stop?  No, it does not.  This is the tale of a demonic presence that just won’t quit.

Starring Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Zajur, Natalie Ganzhorn, Austin Abrams, Dean Norris, Gil Bellows, and Lorraine Toussaint, the film is set in 1968 and, with Night of the Living Dead playing at a local drive-in theatre, it has all the flavor of that a small town can offer the cinema.  Mill Town, Pennsylvania is about to get rocked when Stella discovers that, hidden deep inside a rumored haunted house, there is a book that writes its own stories . . . in blood.  Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

The film has all the right “feels”, too.  Everything about it - from its tone to its characters and its setting - hits all those haunted Halloween highs just right.  Starting with Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” and closing with a leaf-covered highway shot, this horror film delivers a smart series of stories that are all connected as the players are all trapped in the haunted house at the on-set of the main story.  And, unlike most anthology tales, there’s not one short story being written by the book that doesn’t work.  It seems like Pan’s Labyrinth was a blueprint of sorts.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is now available on blu-ray from CBS Films and Lionsgate.

4/5 beers

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Lionsgate Films
Available on Blu-ray
- November 5, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

CBS Films and Lionsgate does it up right with its spectacularly handled Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Code release of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark that comes with a blu-ray disc, a DVD copy of the film, and a Movies Anywhere digital redemption code. The blue eco-case is housed in a nicely-designed cardboard slipcover finished with a matte surface and some foil-stamp highlights.

Video

This thing crackles with life throughout as the beautiful tack-sharp 1080p 2.39:1 transfer puts on display some incredible creatures and a tone that just won’t stop.  Black levels are solid throughout and shadows are well-defined, making the creature effects remarkably detailed.  This is a dynamic experience made especially for high end home video systems. There are very few flaws anywhere on this disc even considering the numerous nighttime and dimly lit scenes.

Audio

Exhilarating is certainly one word that can be used to describe the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track that rattles the walls, and crack the plaster as all sorts of scares are drummed up by this film. 

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Director Richard Friedman, Producer Dan Bacaner, and Film Historian Robert Ehlinger provide a brand-new commentary for their film.

Special Features:

Fans get del Toro talking about the books the movie is based on and his adaptation of them.  We also get some information on influences, the production design, the practical effects, behind the scenes footage, and lots of candid footage.  

  • Dark Tales 
  • Retro Horror 
  • The Bellows Construct 
  • Creatures from the Shadows
  • Mood Reels
  • Behind the Scenes: Set Visits

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for terror/violence, disturbing images, thematic elements, language including racial epithets, and brief sexual references.
Runtime:
108 mins
Director
: André Øvredal
Writer:
Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman
Cast:
Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Based on the iconic book series.
Memorable Movie Quote: "They locked her away because she was different."
Theatrical Distributor:
Lionsgate
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 9, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 5, 2019
Synopsis: On Halloween 1968, reclusive Stella and her two friends meet a mysterious drifter, Ramón, and uncover a sinister notebook of stories.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

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