From the beginning, I have been mixed on the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie. The live-action realization of those godawful illustrations from the book are spot-on, and come loaded with a generation’s worth of nightmare fuel to give them extra weight as screen images. But everything else about the movie seems dumb. The new trailer is not doing anything to dispel that notion. Harold looks f-cking freaky. When that obvious Movie Bully hits him with the bat, I cringed. You know what’s coming! You know what Harold does! It’s terrible. I am equally repelled by and curious about Harold. How far will they take that? How much will we see? The movie is not yet rated, but I highly doubt it will be R, so I’m not anticipating a full-gruesome Harold result. But you know what sticks with me about that story? It’s that we DON’T see Harold’s work up close. It’s glimpsed from a distance. It’s enough to know what happened, to understand what Harold is doing, but it’s not a close-up horror like some of the other stories. What lingers is that description of Harold, in the distance, and the surviving dude’s dawning realization about what just happened. So we don’t have to see Harold’s handiwork to be freaked the f-ck out, I just wonder how committed to that ending this movie will be.

Because I am super not into anything else about Scary Stories. I don’t care about these kids and their cursed witch book. If you don’t have any better sense than to go around reading from books hand-written in blood, you deserve the dark fate you have just invoked. It’s just common sense: if you find a book handwritten in blood, LEAVE IT ALONE, and by the gods old and new, whatever you do, DO NOT SPEAK THE WORDS OUT LOUD. What kind of idiot child is going around reading a book handwritten in blood out loud like this is the f-cking amateur hour of how to get your entire town cursed? Not even those dopes from Riverdale would do this, for sure Cheryl, at least, has her “don’t read from the book handwritten in blood” sh-t on lock.

Speaking of Riverdale, I am also unmoved by the movie’s new monster, the Jangly Man. The old lady moving weird in the It: Chapter 2 teaser is way creepier than this CG-enhanced creature. The Jangly Man looks like any generic horror movie/video game creature. It also just can’t compete with the monsters adapted from the book’s illustrations. I’m not sure why they even bothered with inventing a new creature, when they have this “Sarah Bellows” witch person to blame for everything. I remain in terror of Harold, because he is the f-cking worst, but everything else about Scary Stories is a yawn.