Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Teaser Poster

When I reviewed the film a few months ago, I initially gave it a decent review. Upon my second viewing, my feelings about the film relatively stayed the same. Although the books are, for some reason, aimed towards kids, this is not a film for kids. The film features a lot of scary moments and imagery that’ll traumatize kids. Instead, this film is aimed towards preteens.

Nevertheless, the film smartly takes the short stories and combines it in a way that builds the world and coherently connects everything at the same time. Also, the creatures are perfectly recreated from the designs of the book. Guillermo del Toro’s influence is all over the creature and production design. It’s very gothic and they’re all practical creature suits as well.

Unfortunately, there’s no character development for any of the main characters. They primarily use the characters as plot devices instead of having the plot revolving around their arcs. Not to mention, the characters do a lot of stupid things in the film that gets themselves killed. It’s not as bad as the GEICO “horror movie” commercial but it’s not good either. But despite that, you begin to realize who will live and who will die. You can recognize that right away through the sheer predictability of the film.

But like most horror films, the mystery around the supernatural is what ultimately drives the film. The being that’s haunting the film is both merciless and ruthless. Also, it’s an interesting take that paints Sarah Bellows as a tragic figure that wants revenge on those who dare cross her. So the more you find out about her story then the more you sympathize with her.

Overall, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a dark and creepy film that smartly combines several short stories into one coherent film. Unfortunately, the lack of character development and attachment is what ultimately brings down this film.

Movie Rating: 3/5 atoms


Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Pale Lady

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark hits Ultra HD Blu-ray (see it on Amazon) with an HDR transfer and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The bright lights and areas are vibrant and these areas jump off the screen. Since this is a horror film, much of the film takes place in dark places. The black levels, obviously, is a big part of the film. The wide range of blacks and dark colors keeps the picture dark without losing any details in the shadows. There’s also a nice richness to the color saturation as well. It’s not overly saturated nor is it natural looking. The best aspect of the picture is the detail clarity. The picture is crisp and clean. Because of this, you’ll get to see the great work done by the creature designers and production designs. Overall, the quality of the picture is amazing.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms


Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Jangly Man

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. For a 4K release, it’s disappointing to see that the Scary Stories only has a 5.1 audio mix. That means that the mix isn’t dynamic at all. It’s mostly a static and immersive mix. The atmospherics takes precedence here as these effects are the primary source of immersion. Effects like the wind blowing through the cornfields during the Harold scene or the spiders crawling all over the soundstage during The Red Spot.

When it comes to the score, Marco Beltrami and Anna Drubich’s creepy score also fills up the soundstage. The music box chimes is the most notable instrument as it’s layered across the soundstage. The dialogue sounds crisp and clean as well. Overall, it’s a good mix but it’s sorely missing a Dolby Atmos mix.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Special Features

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Zoe Margaret Colletti, Gabriel Rush, Michael Garza, and Austin Zajur

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc has the following special features on it:

  • Dark Tales
  • Retro Horror
  • The Bellows Construct
  • Creatures from the Shadows
  • Mood Reels
  • Behind-The-Scenes Trailers: Set Visits
    • Halloween Night
    • Asylum

“Dark Tales” and “Retro Horror” are short featurettes which mostly praises the books in which the films are based on. Nevertheless, these featurettes do provide some interesting information about the making-of the film.

“The Bellows Construct” is a short but fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the haunted Bellows house. You can see part of the reason why this Victorian house in Ontrario was chosen as the site of the Bellows house. Unfortunately, the featurette is too short to learn anything significant from the making of the film.

“Creatures from the Shadows” is easily the most in-depth featurette in this release. The featurette breaks down each of the creatures one-by-one.

“Mood Reels” are André Øvredal’s way of setting the mood for the week of shooting. It’s basically quick edits of the film—some with dialogue and others with the score setting the mood. The set visits are behind-the-scene clips edited together in one short video. There’s no commentary nor interviews in this one. It’s strictly all behind-the-scenes footage.

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Overall, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a fun and creepy film despite some glaring issues with the characters. The video transfer is perfect but the audio mix sadly doesn’t feature a Dolby Atmos mix. The special features are mostly great but they’re also really short.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

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