Scary strories to tell in the dark is a film by Guillermo Del Toro adapted by Dan and Kevin Hageman, directed by André Ovredal and produced by Del Toro, Sean Daniel, Jason F. Brown, J. Miles Dale, Elizabeth Grave, Joshua Long, and Roberto Grande. This film was released on August 9, 2019 for the United States of America by Lionsgate Entertaiment.
Starring Zoe Colletti as the young Stella Nicholls, Gabriel Rush as Auggie Hilderbrant, Michael Garza as Ramón Morales, Austin Zajur as Charlie "Chuck" Steinberg, Austin Abrams as Tommy Milner, Dean Norris as Roy Nicholls, Gil Bellows as the Chief of Police Marie Ward as Mrs. Hilderbrant, Lorraine Toussaint as Louise Baptiste, Matt Smith as Mr. Steinberg, and Karen Glave as Claire Baptiste.
This film is based on the collection of children's books of horror stories homonymous to the original Alvin Schawrtz tape. He tells us a series of events that occur in a population of Pennsylvania called Mill Valley; it is set in the late sixties.
Nineteen sixty-eight, Halloween night; Stella and her friends Aggie and Chuck are fond of horror stories and as a hobby they write about it. Married to the heavy jokes of Tommy Miller's bully, they decide to take the opportunity to take revenge by giving him a good scare.
Stella and her friends make Tommy angry, who with his gang chases them all over town to let them know who's in charge; they manage to sneak into the drive-in, and a young stranger named Ramón hides them in his car.
Stella immediately looks at Ramón and invites him to a visit that they have planned to the haunted house of the town, an old mansion that belonged to the Bellows family, founders of the town. Sarah, daughter of Dr. Ephrain Bellows, mysteriously disappeared one day, she was never heard of and there was no record of her existence; what is the myth of a newspaper that hides terrible murder stories.
Stella, Auggie, Chuck and Ramón, enter the Bellows mansion, begin to tour the house when suddenly Stella discovers a hidden room, they begin to search and find Sarah's diary.
Without noticing, Tommy and his girlfriend Ruth (Chuck's sister) had followed them to the Bellows house; He takes them by surprise and encloses them in the hidden room, taking care of the joke they made, but Tommy went further and also locked Ruth with his brother. In the middle of despair they hear a strange noise, and by magic the doors open, with no one outside, they run away in terror, and Stella takes Sarah's diary.
Once in the quiet of her room, Stella begins to read Sarah's diary, which begins to rewrite on the last page; the new story is titled "Harold" and the victim's name is Tommy.
That same night before arriving home, Tommy the bully goes through a couple of beers to the bar, on the way he runs into the scarecrow of his house, called Harold, who hits every day when he sees it, a few meters more forward Tommy turns and Harold is gone, at that moment he is stabbed and killed by the creature.
At dawn Tommy is reported to local authorities as missing; Stella convinces Ramón to investigate Tommy's strange disappearance, on the way home they find a scarecrow with the clothes of the missing bully; Stella meets her friends and shows them Sarah's diary, assures them that this scarecrow is Tommy; Everyone looks at each other skeptically.
During the night Ramon and Stella see that a new story appears in the horror book, it is titled "The Big Toe", this time its protagonist is his friend Auggie, can Stella and Ramón save the life of their friend?