Couple with bad acting and worse dialogue and Scary Stories might’ve been better served in 2005 on ABC Family. Mid-aughts-level effects do their best to render creepy imitations of the Pale Lady or the Jangly Man, but if there’s one rule of horror it’s never go CGI. Obvious computer-generated imagery is tough when you’re trying to scare the bajeezus out of people, even kids. Regardless, brief moments of body horror must be commended, such as when a character begins vomiting straw or another discovers a moving boil on her face. Euphoria‘s Austin Abrams makes a good villain, much to my surprise, and Austin Zajur and Gabriel Rush (looking like the spitting image of Jason Sudeikis; are they related?) are good for sputtering comic relief. Lead actress Zoe Colletti is an ounce too earnest and I personally believe there ought to be a moratorium on kids-horror conflicts where the young lead’s cries aren’t heeded by those in danger. Mostly, I can’t help but roll my eyes at a plot device identical to the aforementioned Goosebumps, where a book or books are full of black magic and the stories and ghouls written therein come to life. Scary Stories is simply too derivative to recommend.
The Snow in Wizard of Oz Is Asbestos. In that famous poppy-field scene in Wizard of Oz, the snow coming down is calming to Dorothy and her posse. But they should probably have been far less relaxed as these were actually asbestos-based fake snowflakes—a popular Christmas decoration throughout the United States and Europe at the time. Wicked, indeed.