Starring: Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, Austin Abrams, Gabriel Rush, Austin Zajur, Natalie Ganzhorn, Dean Norris, Gil Bellows, Lorraine Toussaint, Javier Botet, Doug Jones
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Horror directed by André Øvredal from a story by Guillermo del Toro. The movie follows a group of young teens who face their fears in order to solve the mystery that involves a series of horrific deaths in their small hometown.
Here is the official plot from CBS Films and Lionsgate:
“It’s 1968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind, but seemingly far removed from the unrest in the cities is the small town of Mill Valley where for generations, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large. It is in their mansion on the edge of town that Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time-stories that have a way of becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying tome.”
Our Favorite Quotes:'Stories hurt. Stories heal. If we repeat them often enough, they become real. They have that power. They make us who we are.' Stella Nicholls (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) Click To Tweet 'Stories can teach us to care. They make us brave enough to admit that we need each other. Give us a home to go back to.' - Stella Nicholls (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) Click To Tweet
Best Quotes (Total Quotes: 40)
Stella Nicholls: [voice over] Stories heal. Stories hurt. If we repeat them often enough, they become real. They make us who we are. They have such power. This I learned on the very last autumn of our childhood.
Stella Nicholls: [to Ramón] Well, it is Halloween, so do you want to see a haunted house?
[as they walk up to the Bellow house]
Ramón Morales: You weren’t kidding.
Stella Nicholls: Told you it wouldn’t disappoint.
Ramón Morales: I don’t know, you’d think on Halloween, this place would be hopping.
Chuck Steinberg: Oh, it was, for a while, then some kid went missing, so they boarded it up. I think it’s being torn down for a mall or something.
[referring to the Bellow house]
Auggie Hilderbrandt: Okay, there, we saw it. Can we go now?
Chuck Steinberg: Who ordered the chicken?
Auggie Hilderbrandt: Because I don’t like to spend my nights in a house where a child murderer lived?
Ramón Morales: Someone was killed in that house? That’s pretty dark. Who lived here?
Stella Nicholls: The Bellows. One of the first families to settle here in the late 19th century.
Chuck Steinberg: Built the paper mill that pretty much put this town on the map.
[as they walk around the Bellow House]
Stella Nicholls: The Bellows had a secret, a daughter that they never allowed to leave the house. The myth is that there was something really off about her.
Chuck Steinberg: A really scary part is that her family erased her from every single portrait. To this day, nobody’s ever found a picture of Sarah.
Stella Nicholls: They disowned her.
[referring to Sarah]
Ramón Morales: So what happened to her?
Stella Nicholls: Kids would come from all over in hopes to get a peek at Strange Sarah. And though they never saw her, they could hear her, through the wall. Sarah told them stories. Scary stories. Some kids never returned home. Children around town died. Poisoned, they said. Everyone knew it was Sarah, but before the mob could even get their hands on her, she’d already hung herself with her own hair.
[they enter another room the Bellow house]
Stella Nicholls: And as the legend goes, if you come to the Bellows House at dark, and ask Sarah to tell you a story, it’ll be the last story you ever hear. Mwa-ha-ha-ha!
[they both chuckle]
[after they broken into the Bellows house]
Stella Nicholls: This is where her family kept her. Locked her away from the world. All alone as some sort of freak. She must have just sat right here and told her stories to the kids through this wall.
Chuck Steinberg: How have we never seen this before?
Auggie Hilderbrandt: I don’t think anyone wanted us to?
Ramón Morales: What’s that?
Stella Nicholls: I can’t believe it. It’s her book of scary stories.
Ramón Morales: She had a book?
Chuck Steinberg: There’s no book in the version of the myth I heard.
Auggie Hilderbrandt: The book is a part of every version of the myth. And that it was written in children’s blood.
Chuck Steinberg: Well, kids died hearing these stories, okay? Look, let’s put it back where you found it, and let’s just get out of here now.
[opens Sarah Bellows book]
Stella Nicholls: Sarah Bellows, tell me a story. Tell me a story. Sarah Bellows, tell me a story.
Ramón Morales: You know, if you’re serious about being a writer, you can’t do it here. You got to move to the city.
Stella Nicholls: I couldn’t leave my dad.
[reading from the book]
Chuck Steinberg: Cool. He turns into a scarecrow? Fresh twist.
Stella Nicholls: That’s not a twist. I told you, the story, it, uh, it just appeared. Tommy didn’t even show up to school. It’s like he just disappeared.
Auggie Hilderbrandt: Everyone knew he was eager to go shoot some commies. Maybe he just, I don’t know, left early?
Chuck Steinberg: There was that room…
Auggie Hilderbrandt: Just drop it.
Stella Nicholls: No, tell me.
Chuck Steinberg: In the house, when I was hiding, the room was old. I mean new. Perfect, like when they lived there, and I saw this old lady, and this dog, and they were just staring at me with this look…
Auggie Hilderbrandt: Listen to yourselves. Nothing happened to us in that house, except for what Tommy did to us. If he’s gone, good riddance. We should never have gone there, we should never have taken the book. You let a ghost story get into your heads. That’s all it is.
Stella Nicholls: I’m worried. Tommy wasn’t at school. His name was in the book. I mean, there’s no way it’s actually connected, right?
Ramón Morales: Yeah, of course it’s not.
[referring to the scarecrow they’ve found]
Stella Nicholls: It’s what Tommy was wearing last night. Okay, what if this is Tommy, and what happens in the book is exactly what’s happened for real?
Ramón Morales: Stop trying to scare me. It’s just a scarecrow.
[referring to Sarah’s book]
Stella Nicholls: Where did you get that?
Ramón Morales: It was just here on your bookshelf.
Stella Nicholls: No, I was just here. It wasn’t. I took this back to the house.
Ramón Morales: What?
Stella Nicholls: How is it getting, how is it back here again?
[she opens the book and it starts to see a new story being written entitled “The Big Toe”]
Stella Nicholls: What’s happening?
[she drops the book to the floor]
Ramón Morales: What the hell! How does that work?
Stella Nicholls: But we’ve got to make it stop!
[Stella starts tearing out the pages, but the story just gets written in the next page]
Ramón Morales: “A mother was digging at the edge of the garden when she saw a big toe. It looks nice and plump,” she said, “I’ll put it in the stew.” What kind of story is that?
Stella Nicholls: What…
[she sees Auggie’s name being written]
Stella Nicholls: Auggie.
[over the walkie-talkie]
Stella Nicholls: Auggie, pick up!
Auggie Hilderbrandt: Hey, I’m eating.
Stella Nicholls: Auggie!
Auggie Hilderbrandt: Stella!
Stella Nicholls: Auggie, do not eat anything. Listen, you’re in the next story. Whatever you do, do not eat anything!
Auggie Hilderbrandt: Har-har. Very funny. Did Chuck put you up to this?
Ramón Morales: Auggie, this isn’t a joke. Okay, the story is writing itself right now. I don’t know how or why, but I’m reading it right here.
[reading from Sarah’s book over the walkie-talkie]
Ramón Morales: “A sound scared him. It was a voice, and it called out, “Who took my toe?”
Ramón Morales: It’s a corpse looking for her missing toe.
Auggie Hilderbrandt: Yeah, I know this story. My dad used to tell me this story. It scared me so much as a kid. But am I not supposed to wait for someone to say that, because I don’t hear anything?
Stella Nicholls: Listen, we’re reading it right here. “And then the voice grew louder, “Who took my toe?”
Auggie Hilderbrandt: I’m all alone. There’s no voice.
Stella Nicholls: Yeah, well, there has to be a voice!
Auggie Hilderbrandt: You’re the only one saying it.
[just then a toe appears in Auggie’s stew, and he starts to eat from it]
Stella Nicholls: Auggie! Auggie! Oh, no, Auggie, pick up. Auggie, don’t eat anything.
[Auggies pulls out the toe from his mouth]
Stella Nicholls: Auggie!
[Auggie starts to choke]
Auggie Hilderbrandt: Oh, God!
Ramón Morales: Auggie. Auggie?
Stella Nicholls: Auggie? Come on, Auggie, pick up!
[after Auggie hears a noise in the house; over the walkie-talkie]
Auggie Hilderbrandt: Did you hear that?
Ramón Morales: Hear what? I don’t hear anything.
Auggie Hilderbrandt: There was a toe in the stew. A freaking toe! What does the book say happens next?
Stella Nicholls: “August got very scared. “But he thought, “It doesn’t know where I am. It’ll never find me.”
Auggie Hilderbrandt: How does the book know that?
Stella Nicholls: “And then he heard the voice again.”
Big Toe Corpse: Who took my…
Stella Nicholls: “Toe.” Auggie, just get out of the house!
Stella Nicholls: You don’t read the book. The book reads you. I’m afraid that we woke something up. That the same thing is going to happen to all of us. We were all in that house.
Ruth: No, this isn’t real, okay? Stories can’t hurt you. Sarah Bellows is a myth, and even if she’s not, she’s dead.
Chuck Steinberg: We need to go to the police.
Stella Nicholls: No, we can’t. They know what Tommy did to Ramón’s car, and they think that he had…
Chuck Steinberg: Auggie! We need to find Auggie.
Ramón Morales: Not going to the police. They’ll never believe a word I say.
Chuck Steinberg: Well, then we’ll make them believe.
Stella Nicholls: By the time that they make sense of everything, we’re all going to be dead.
Chuck Steinberg: No, no, no. If we can’t go to the police, what do we do? Just sit and wait for our story to be written? There’s got to be some way to stop a witch.
Ruth: Well, I don’t believe any of it. I got to go. My musical’s tonight, and I’m not falling for another one of your dumb Halloween pranks.
Stella Nicholls: It’s not a prank, Ruth.
Chuck Steinberg: Ruth, please, don’t go.
Ruth: I know you want to be a writer, Stella, but this prank is sick.
[Ruth starts to walk off]
Chuck Steinberg: No! Ruthie! Ruthie, stop!
[referring to Ruth being attacked by spiders]
Stella Nicholls: I saw her. Sarah was there. She was controlling the entire thing.
Chuck Steinberg: My sister’s gone. We’re next. We’re next.
[referring to Richard Nixon]
Claire Baptiste: Tricky Dicky. That’s no name for a president.
Stella Nicholls: We have her book.
Lou Lou: You found her book? Give it here.
[Stella gives the book to Lou Lou]
Lou Lou: I give her this. I feel so sorry for that girl, sitting down there in the darkness, all by herself.
Stella Nicholls: Did your mom ever teach her anything?
Lou Lou: Teach her?
Ramón Morales: Black magic?
Lou Lou: No. There is no magic, child. There is only rage.
Stella Nicholls: Then how is she still writing the stories?
Lou Lou: Stories hurt. Stories heal.
Lou Lou: Do you know what you have done?
Stella Nicholls: Done what?
Lou Lou: You shouldn’t have taken the book. You made her angry.
[starts mumbling to herself]
Lou Lou: “The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out…”
Claire Baptiste: She gets this way sometimes.
Stella Nicholls: Look, I need to know.
Claire Baptiste: Another time. I need to settle her down.
Stella Nicholls: No, we need to know. I need to know.
Claire Baptiste: She told the doctors everything she knew at the hospital where that disturbed girl hung herself.
Chuck Steinberg: But I thought, everyone always said Sarah hanged herself in the house.
Claire Baptiste: You weren’t there! Mama was.
Ramón Morales: The hospitals have records.
Stella Nicholls: Records of Sarah.
Chuck Steinberg: Then what are we still doing here? Let’s go.
[referring to the reports in Sarah’s file they found at the local hospital]
Ramón Morales: Admittance records, psychological exams, what she ate.
Stella Nicholls: This is everything. She was admitted by her own family. It says here that she was suffering from achromasia-albinism.
Ramón Morales: They put her in her basement because she was different.
Stella Nicholls: Here, her supervising doctor was Dr. Ephraim Bellows.
Ramón Morales: Her own brother?
Stella Nicholls: Yeah.
Ramón Morales: Jesus! They tortured her. Look, electroshock, isolation therapy, lateral cerebral diathermia treatment.
[referring to the cylinder]
Stella Nicholls: What about this thing? What is this?
Ramón Morales: I’ve seen one of these before. It’s a wax cylinder. They used them to make recordings before LPs.
Stella Nicholls: So, does that mean we’re going to get to hear Sarah?
[Stella calls her dad after her and Ramón have been arrested by Turner]
Roy Nicholls: Stella?
Stella Nicholls: Dad.
Roy Nicholls: Are you okay? Where are you? Stella?
Stella Nicholls: [crying] I’m afraid I’m going to die, Dad.
Roy Nicholls: Aw, sweetie, don’t say that. Tell me what’s wrong. Tell me what I can do.
Stella Nicholls: You can’t do anything about it. I can’t do anything about it.
Roy Nicholls: No, no. You got to help me out here, sweetie. Tell me where you are. I will get there right away. I don’t care what you’re going through, just tell me, please.
Stella Nicholls: If I go missing…
Roy Nicholls: Missing?
Stella Nicholls: If you can’t find me…
Roy Nicholls: Find you where? Stella?
Stella Nicholls: I didn’t leave you. I would never do that to you.
Roy Nicholls: I don’t understand what you’re talking about, Stella, leave me? Why would you leave me? Is someone there with you?
Roy Nicholls: Please just listen to me, sweetie. It’s not your fault, Stella. It’s not your fault she left.
Stella Nicholls: Everyone said it was because of me.
Roy Nicholls: Oh, no, please, please, please listen to me. It’s not your fault she left. It was never, ever about you. It was about her. I don’t know, somewhere deep down inside, she just felt trapped, or somethin. I don’t know, I… It’s complicated. I wish I had answers for you, sweetie, but I just don’t, and I’m so sorry.
Stella Nicholls: I love you, dad. I got to go.
Roy Nicholls: It’s not your fault, Stella. Please don’t hang up, sweetie.
Stella Nicholls: I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I got to go.
Roy Nicholls: I’m telling you, it wasn’t your…
[Stella hangs up the phone]
Chief Turner: Ramón Morales. You’re going to do your duty to this country, one way or the other. I can help you, if you tell us about your missing friends.
Ramón Morales: I told you everything we know.
Chief Turner: [chuckles] Oh, yeah, right. Sarah Bellows book. The stories write themselves, and it all comes alive. We can’t find any bodies.
Stella Nicholls: Yeah, I know. It’s hard to believe. We saved Ruth at school. I mean, we stopped her from getting killed.
Chief Turner: Ruth Steinberg? That’s who you’re talking about? You didn’t save anyone. She’s stuck in the nuthouse for the rest of her life.
[after Turner has revealed that Ramón is a Vietnam War draft dodger before improsining them]
Ramón Morales: I should’ve told you. You must think I’m a coward, but…
Stella Nicholls: I would never think that.
Ramón Morales: Two months ago they shipped my brother back from Vietnam in pieces.
Stella Nicholls: I’m so sorry.
Ramón Morales: Last week when I got my draft notice, I couldn’t. They just send you there to die. If the book reads me, I’m afraid what it’s going to say.
[reading from Sarah’s book]
Chief Turner: “Me Tie Dough-ty Walker”?
[he touches the ink on the paper and it smudges]
Chief Turner: Who came up with all this sick stuff? Is this you, Stella?
Stella Nicholls: We didn’t write the stories.
[just then the lights go out]
[as Turner walks over to his dog, who is growling and acting strangely]
Stella Nicholls: [to Turner] Wait, is there another story? Please, you have to let us out! Okay, if there’s another story, we are all going to be in danger.
Ramón Morales: Tell us what’s happening!
Stella Nicholls: What’s the story?
Stella Nicholls: [to Turner] Please just listen to me, okay? We’re all going to die!
Ramón Morales: It’s my turn.
Stella Nicholls: Okay, what happens in the story? Just tell me which name is in the book.
Chief Turner: Ramón.
Ramón Morales: It’s a campfire story. It used to scare me to death. The Jangly Man is coming. He’s going to take me…
Stella Nicholls: What’s going on?
Ramón Morales: He’s going to say it. Listen.
[just the decapitated head of the Jangly Man lands on the ground]
Jangly Man: Me tie dough-ty walker!
Chief Turner: Are you sh*tting me?
[he starts shooting at the head, which does nothing, then watches in horror as other body parts enter and fall to the ground]
Stella Nicholls: Please, just let us out! Please!
[the Jangly man reconstructs himself from his separate body parts and kills Turner]
[as the Jangly Man has come after Ramón, while he is still locked up in Turner’s jail cell]
Jangly Man: Coward!
Stella Nicholls: I got the keys.
[as she attempts to unlock the cell door]
Stella Nicholls: Come on, come on, come on, come on.
Jangly Man: Coward!
[as Stella opens the cell]
Ramón Morales: Run! Go, go, go!
[at the Bellows house]
Sarah Bellows: Stella, I have another story just for you.
Ramón Morales: Stella, if you can hear me, wherever you are, tell her the truth.
Stella Nicholls: No. It’s time that you hear a story, Sarah. You were a victim. Now you’ve turned into a monster. The one that they said you were.
Ramón Morales: Stella!
Stella Nicholls: You took my friends. Two of the people that I love most.
[as he’s being pursued by the Jangly Man at the Bellows house]
Ramón Morales: Stella!
Stella Nicholls: [to Sarah] Are you going to take him too? What your family did to you, what they said, that’s on them. But what you do, this is on you, Sarah. It’s all on you. I’ll tell your story. The real story, I’ll tell the truth. But the rage, the rage has to stop, Sarah.
[Sarah gives Stella her pen]
Sarah Bellows: Use your blood.
[Stella stabs her finger wit the pen, then uses then to start writing in her blood]
Stella Nicholls: “Sarah Bellows was innocent. She knew the truth, and tried to stop them. She was brave. She was harmed and destroyed by her own family. By their greed, and their lies, and their sins.”
Stella Nicholls: I’ll tell your story. You can let it go. You can let it go, Sarah.
[Sarah howls loudly, then her and the Jangly Man disappear]
Stella Nicholls: [voice over] Stories hurt. Stories heal. If we repeat them often enough, they become real. They have that power. They make us who we are.
[Ramón and Stella find each other at the Bellows house]
Ramón Morales: Stella.
Stella Nicholls: I’m just so happy you’re okay.
[Ramón puts Stella’s glasses back on her face and they embrace again]
Stella Nicholls: [voice over] And if there’s anything I learned from Sarah, it’s to never give up.
Stella Nicholls: [voice over] I told Sarah’s story exactly as I promised. I wrote about the pale, lonely girl who wrote stories in the dark. And how she was turned into a monster by her family. Some people believed me. Most didn’t. Because, like Sarah, I was a lonely girl who knew how to tell a good creepy story.
[Ramón is in the U.S. army and is about to leave]
Ramón Morales: Write me?
[Stella gives him a letter she’s written to him]
Stella Nicholls: Every day.
Ramón Morales: See you around.
Stella Nicholls: [voice over] Stories can teach us to care. They make us brave enough to admit that we need each other. Give us a home to go back to. Chuck and Auggie are still gone, but I know there is a way to bring them back, and that the secret is in the book. And we won’t stop until we find them.
Total Quotes: 40
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