Night lights and blankets won’t ward off the Dark
Director Troy Nixey gives you a scary bedtime story with Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.
It is not the most frightening film you will ever see, but it will certainly make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
The thing that makes it a scary tale and not a run-of-the-mill horror movie is that it lacks the cliches of most horror films.
There is no gratuitous gore or violence or pathetic twist at the end. Not that the film is original, as it is a remake of a 1973 film by the same name.
Actress Bailey Madison plays Sally, a little girl who has been sent by her mother to live with her father (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend (Katie Holmes) in Blackwood Mansion, which is in the middle of being refurbished. Her architect father is in charge of the renovation and does not have time for her.
Sally is left all to herself in the big mansion, and she finds out that she is not alone. First she finds a basement and in it a grate that is bolted shut. Behind that grate is a whispering voice that beckons Sally to come to it.
Unable to restrain her curiosity, Sally opens the grate and releases an evil upon the house that had not been seen since the previous owner, Emerson Blackwood, inhabited the house.
The acting along with the script is average. Madison does a good job by convincingly playing a curious little girl. Pearce’s acting is rather flat, and the self-absorbed father he tries to create is less than believable. Holmes proves she is more than eye candy in her role as surrogate stepmother.
The real strength of the movie is the setting and the lighting.
The mansion is so eerie yet not unnaturally so. Viewers will be unnerved by the creepy house. When voices begin calling Sally to come see them, it makes it all the more scary and all the more believable.
The film was produced and written by Guillermo del Toro.Themes from Pan’s Labyrinth are visible throughout the movie. One similarity is how both films’ protagonists are little girls who are ignored by their families and must entertain themselves only to find a mysterious world.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a scary bedtime story and should only be expected to go so deep in its undertones.
The purpose of the movie is to frighten you. It does that. It sends chills down your spine and even makes you jump at points.
When Hollywood seems to be producing only bad remakes and comic book films, it is nice to see them at least make an effort at a good remake.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark won’t be the best movie you see this year, but it is worth taking a look at if you are a fan of scary movies.