My oh my, that was quite good!
I knew very little about it going in (beyond Guillermo del Toro's involvement and some vague recollection of Schwartz's original 1980s book series), so the whole production felt really fresh and spooky to me.
Admittedly, the first 40-50 minutes are the strongest, but the remaining hour is more than serviceable. I'd probably go again just to experience Act I.
I'm a sucker for Halloween movies, and the timeline for Scary Stories begins 10/31 and runs through 11/5, so it features proper chills in the air, whooshing breezes, creepy corn stalks (think 2001's now-classic Jeepers Creepers), letterman jackets, a night at the drive-in, a haunted house, tons of Halloween desserts, secret rooms, trick-or-treaters, flickering candles, and four or five stories that feel reminiscent of 1982's cult-favorite, Creepshow. Man, I LOVED Creepshow.
Tonight, though, our theater was practically sold-out, and the ENTIRE row in front of me was comprised of jumpy teenage girls. I will never forget watching 2013's Mama in a small AMC theater filled with teenage girls. It felt insanely conducive to the sort of gimmicks director William Castle trotted out in 1959 ("Emergo," "Percepto," and "The Tingler" among them). Then, as now, girls screamed and screamed with very little prompting before giggling for another five minutes after. It really brings a film to life!
In Castle's heyday, pre-rigged skeletons zipped high above audiences on thin wires at the most opportune times and seat buzzers shocked moviegoers into soiling their pants.
Anyhoo, all this to say, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is fun, and if you've got a free night remaining this summer (and enjoy ghost stories, the kind told around campfires), you could do worse than checking it out.