Norwegian director André Øvredal made a serious name for himself with The Autopsy of Jane Doe; one of the coolest and most fascinating horror movies of modern years, it pitted a father-son duo of morticians against a seemingly malevolent corpse they’re in the midst of tearing open. A moody, atmospheric, and truly terrifying addition to the genre landscape, it was the most bizarre follow-up to his previous flick, the lively Trollhunter, imaginable.
Likewise, his latest movie, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, an adaptation of the beloved children’s book series, is another left turn for a director clearly intent on surprising us at every opportunity. It might not be as bone-chilling as Jane Doe or as divertingly odd as Trollhunter, but Øvredal’s take on the material is assured, impressively freaky for a kids’ movie, and ultimately quite memorable.
In the lead up to the film’s release, much of the focus was on producer aand co-writer Guillermo Del Toro’s influence, understandably so, but Øvredal’s vision is clear throughout the movie and, if there’s any justice, he’ll get another go at it in the near future. Scary Stories isn’t necessarily the best release of the year, but it further marks Øvredal out as one to watch, and for that we should be grateful.
The Frightfest synopsis leans heavily on this most intriguing of film-making duos:
The hugely anticipated terror team-up of the century! Oscar-winning genre guru Guillermo del Toro and acclaimed Trollhunter director André Øvredal bring the iconic book series to the screen. America, 1968, and in the small town of Mill Valley, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large for generations. It was in their mansion on the edge of town that the tormented Sarah turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time. Now those tales are becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying tome.
Scary Stories to tell in the Dark is directed by André Øvredal from a script credited to Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Guillermo del Toro, Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton that is adapted from Alvin Schwartz’s beloved book series. Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush and Austin Abrams star.
Wicked Horror caught up with Øvredal to chat scary stories, making movies for children, and the perils of PG-13.
Interview conducted by: Joey Keogh
Camera: Richard Waters
Editing: Richard Waters