Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 246, December 2019

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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Terror/violence, disturbing images, thematic elements, language including racial epithets, and brief sexual references
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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(THX® Digitally Mastered):
André Ovredal
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Dolby TrueHD 5.1
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(Spanish Language):

"Scary Stories: To Tell In The Dark" takes place in 1968 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. For a group of teenagers who discover Sarah's terrifying home, the stories become all too real. (Gary Reber)

Special features include six featurettes: "Dark Tales" (HD 05:08), "Retro Horror" (HD 05:06), "The Bellows Construct" (HD 03:36), "Creatures From The Shadows" (HD 11:35), "Mood Reels" (HD 24:27) and "Behind-The-Scenes Trailers: Set Visits" (HD 04:50); upfront previews and a digital code.

The 2.39:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally in anamorphic Master Scope using the Arri Alexa Min & Arri Alexa SXTi camera systems and sourced from a 2K (not 4K) master Digital Intermediate format. As the 2K Digital Intermediate has been upconverted to 2160p, there is no real gain in native resolution. The picture exhibits a spooky appearance with mostly dim shadow delineation attributed to Halloween night and the old Bellows haunted mansion. Other scenes are in bright sunlight or normal interiors with excellent color fidelity, Hues are nicely saturated throughout such scenes. The darkest scenes appear desaturated, almost black-and-white and greenish-blue in intensity with characters contrasted with color. The teen school and homes are hued naturally. The old mansion during daylight still exhibits a brooding aura. The contrast between the mansion's dark and warm colorful segments is effective. Fleshtones are naturally hued. HDR contrast is excellent. Blacks are deep and shadow delineation is generally revealing. Resolution is excellent with fine detail exhibited in character attire and costumes, facial features, such as skin pores, freckles and hair, and object texture is nicely defined as well, which enhances the realism. The scarecrow is scary defined. Spotlighting is effective to create stylization. WOW! segments are from 05:46 to 06:53, 29:18 to 33:58, and 01:08:40 to 01:11:03.

This is a hauntingly effective horror movie that delivers the frights. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel soundtrack is dynamic sounding with a creepy orchestral and choral score that occupies a wide and deep soundstage presence with an aggressive extension to envelop the surrounds. Foley and other sound effects are effectively presented and boosted with sharp bass transients with strong orchestral bursts, all of which enhances the terror. Surround envelopment, while not directionalized, is aggressive. Rain and thunder sound effects are powerful. Deep bass extension is powerful with energized sub-25 Hz .1 LFE impact. Dialogue is spatially integrated and intelligible throughout. While there is no Immersive Sound element, the potential is for scary terrific. The music alone, which is virtually continuous, would be very effective in the height layer, working as a powerful sound effect, in creating the sense of terror and fright. Upmixing the soundtrack in an Immersive Sound format is recommended to enhance the soundfield dimensionally. This is an engaging holosonic® soundtrack that is nicely crafted and scary effective. (Gary Reber)