André Øvredal’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has been one of the most anticipated films of 2019. Most of us in the appropriate age range are familiar with the children’s book. Our subject remembered the creepy illustrations but could not recall if she ever read the stories. How would those haunting images from her past translate to the big screen? Could the new film rekindle fears buried within childhood memories?
Test Subject: Megan
Fears: Insects / Gore
Resting HR: 62-65 bpm
Walking HR: 80-85 bpm
The film’s opening credits offered up a nostalgic Halloween vibe getting our subject into a spooky mood. She quickly empathized with the main characters and eagerly followed them along as the mystery unfolded. Each story brought it’s own stunning character along with it’s own heart racing peak. The highest spike came thirty-four minutes into the film as one of the more popular characters of the series made an appearance. A jump to 83bpm at fifty-seven minutes signified the reaction to our subject’s hidden fear from an insect experience she later revealed to us. Curious? There were several moments in the film where the pace slowed as the children discovered more about the stories. These scenes killed momentum causing our subject’s heart rate to drop back to resting before another chilling story was able to jolt her heart to life again.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark could also be considered Scary Stories to Affect the Heart. Creepy scenes crawled under our subject’s skin and raised visible goosebumps. The film created imagery that will remain set in her subconscious long after viewing. But in the moment, the beautiful visuals were not enough to sustain the suspense needed to build record-breaking numbers. The movie was too mature for the infant sitting in front of us (true story) but too young to truly terrify the adult horror fan. The film is a perfect introduction to scary movies for tweens and there will be many tiny hearts leaping out of their chests in theaters. Maybe we need to do a FearScale Junior Edition when this teen fright-fest hits the home release.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Burns an average of 227 Calories
Average Spider Roll: 317 Calories