Episode 618 - "Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark" (2019)

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By Joseph Dobzynski, Jr. and Joseph Dobzynski. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

NARRATOR: “Welcome back to Reign of Terror 2019! 31 straight days of horror movie reviews and interviews. Today’s episode will feature Nathan Gibbons from The One Where Show, who will be reviewing 2019’s ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’. A promo will run before the review.”

NARRATOR: “But for now, let’s turn out attention back to the fate of our host, in Part Four of “WORLD WITHOUT COLOR”.”

SCENE: Darkness

NARRATOR: “Darkness. Pure darkness. Joseph had stopped hearing the slow shuffle of the mummy that was chasing him, but the passageway had only continued in one direction. He felt his way along the way, hoping not to trigger any traps, or cut himself open on jagged rocks, or perhaps get bitten by one of hundreds of insects, many of which are quite poisonous...”

JOSEPH: “NOPE!”

NARRATOR: “Joseph stopped feeling his way along the way, which was just as well, because he felt he had emerged into a larger space. He certainly hadn’t seen it, and the space appeared to have no discernable sources of light. If only he had a light...”

JOSEPH: “The dumb phone!”

NARRATOR: “Joseph began to reach for his pocket, having completely and conveniently forgotten about the phone with limited capabilities. It wasn’t just able to receive calls and interact on Twitter. It could be a light.”

NATHAN: “I wouldn’t do that.”

NARRATOR: “Squelched a speaker somewhere within the vast space."

NATHAN: “Sorry about the feedback. It’s a work in progress.”

JOSEPH: “Nathan, is that you?”

NATHAN: “It is. Listen, I’m glad I’m able to speak with you. First, I wanted to apologize for that Takeover Tuesday, along with ditching you in that morgue and all that. I got turned around in Boston. It’s like they built the streets on old cow paths.”

JOSEPH: “You’re not wrong. Luckily, I made it out of there alive. But here, I’m not so sure. It’s been a very weird ride so far.”

NATHAN: “I imagine it has. Actually, I have some information about that.”

JOSEPH: “Excellent. Let me just get a look around here.”

NATHAN: “Don’t!”

NARRATOR: “Joseph paused, finger hovering over the wake button.”

JOSEPH: “Why? I could fall in a hole or something.”

NATHAN: “You won’t. Look, we were able to get you into this room to chat. The mummy won’t be following you anymore. Just listen.”

NARRATOR: “Of course, we all know Joseph has a problem doing that.”

JOSEPH: “Why shouldn’t I take a look around?”

NATHAN: “Because you’re not going to like what you see.”

NARRATOR: “Joseph slightly retracted his finger from the phone.”

JOSEPH: “What do you mean? Exactly?”

NATHAN: “I’m running out of time to explain. There’s a door on the other side of the room, which you’ll need to feel your way through. A box near you has a pair of night vision goggles.”

NARRATOR: “Joseph felt around for the box, finding nothing.”

JOSEPH: “Are you sure there’s a box here?”

NATHAN: “Positive. Placed it there myself. Please hurry.”

NATHAN: “You find it yet?”

JOSEPH: “Nope. Look, I’m just going to turn the light on the phone...”

NATHAN: “DON’T! If you can’t see them, they can’t hurt you.”

NARRATOR: “He froze, a second time, which is a tool writers often use to deliciously build the suspense, especially in scary stories.”

JOSEPH: “What else is in this room, Nathan?”

NATHAN: “So, it’s a sort of storage room.”

JOSEPH: “Storage room for what, Nathan?”

JOSEPH: “Ah, found it!”

NATHAN: “Great. Now, before you put the goggles on...”

JOSEPH: “Can’t find the latch.”

NATHAN: “It’s right there in front.”

JOSEPH: “I’m just going to turn on the light.”

NATHAN: “NO!”

NARRATOR: “This time Joseph didn’t hesitate, activating the dumb phone, and its meager light, which nevertheless slowly illuminated the room, revealing a room literally full of monsters, all staring at him and his dumb, dumb phone.”

JOSEPH: “Wha..?!?!”

NARRATOR: “Joseph fell backwards, smacking his head against a large wooden panel, then crumpling to the floor, somehow knocking open the box, which had been placed with the handle facing the wall...”

NATHAN: “Oops. That’s my bad.”

NARRATOR: “...but thankfully spilled the goggles next to his body. Joseph peered into the barely illuminated darkness, trying to move himself back, but not also trying to retain consciousness. The last thing he saw before blacking out was the wooden frame he had hit, a cutout with a monster form, one he was pretty sure he had faced before.”

JOSEPH: “What?”

NARRATOR: “It was the last thing he said before giving into the blackness. The phone was illuminating a storage room, full of large, wooden cutouts of horror movie monsters. They had been arranged to face the entrance, a fun scare if you’re expecting it. A deadly scare if you’re not.”

NATHAN: “Losing connection. We’ll try again, soon.”

NARRATOR: “The intercom clicked off. Soon the phone clicked off, once again drained of battery. And Joseph was returned to the darkness. What happened to him? Find out in two days, when we’re joined by Jimmy, Matt, and Kellie of the Pop Pour Review podcast, in Part Five of “WORLD WITHOUT COLOR”! And don’t forget to tune in for a special pre-recorded interview and review of ‘Tabernacle 101’, written and directed by Colm O’Murchu. The full interview will be available on Patreon soon. If Joseph can survive...”

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Based on Austin Schwartz’s bestselling series of books, produced by Guillermo Del Toro, directed by Andre Overtal, and written by Dan and Kevin Hageman. “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” tells the story of four friends, played by Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, and Austin Zajur, who after stealing a dead girl’s book of scary stories, fear for their lives when the book starts writing stories that may have negative consequences for the teens.

Potential spoiler warning.

For my money, there is a lot to like here. The majority of the actors are well cast in their roles, especially Colletti as the headstrong Stella, and Austin Zajur as Chuck, who serves as the comic relief. The creatures are well designed, as is the production and set design, but hey, it’s a Del Toro movie. What did you expect? The message of friends sticking together through thick and thin is positive and there are some well-deserved jump scares to boot.

For the negatives, any movie that casts Dean Norris, and has him do very little, should hang its head in shame. I really hope that they paid him well to make up for his underutilisation. Also, I know I have not mentioned that the film is also a period piece, but there is nothing really done in the time period it is set. Also (without going into details) the film does at times feel quite confused about its politics. And I know that some horror fans will be disappointed at how teen-friendly it is, but that shouldn’t stop them from enjoying the horror that is on offer.

All in all, while these stories might not be the scariest, they are still fun ones to tell in the dark, especially if you are watching this as Baby’s First Horror Movie. The cast gets 15 points, the script gets 15 points, the direction gets 20 points, the Set Costume and Effects get 20 points, the message gets 20 points which equals 90 out of 100.

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%

Metacritic: 61

One Movie Punch: 9.0/10

You can catch it in cinemas.

512 episodes