Guillermo del Toro is a master of the suspenseful, the creepy, and the down-right twisted, which he has used to various effects throughout his film career. However, the new trailer shows off just how bone-chilling he can be when he’s helping to put a horror film together in earnest:
The trailer starts with a narrator, the mysterious and dead Sarah Bellows, telling the audience that the town has told scary stories about her for a long time, and as a group of teens enter a creepy, dilapidated house, she eerily declares she’s got scary stories of her own to share. However, the kids soon find that they have become ensnared in a dark game, being confronted by deadly creatures coming for them, as one character explains “You don’t read the book, the book reads you.” Spookiest of all is that slow-down, music box version of the iconic song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” playing in the background.
It looks like each of these characters will become the center of the various stories told throughout the movie. We see the spider egg zit story, the terrifying scarecrow, and the hallway creature. We also learn from the official synopsis that this film will take place in 1968:
“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.”
The cool thing about this plot point is that, should the film do well, it will be easy to build a sequel in the same place and with the same storytelling device. There’s no rating on the film yet though, which is surprising given that it’ll be coming out soon. Knowing that will give us an insight into just how dark this film will be getting, though it’s definitely peeking into PG-13 category to me.
The film is directed by André Øvredal, best known for directing Troll Hunter and The Autospy of Jane Doe, both horror films. del Toro will only act as a producer, but he’s got his name all over this project so it’s safe to assume he’s gotten a lot of say in this film.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark premieres in theaters on August 9, 2019.