Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark starring Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes, and Bailee Madison is a creepy, yet anti-climatic thriller that does nothing to convince you to NOT be afraid of the dark, but perhaps offers another reason to be afraid that “scary movies” just don’t cut it anymore.
Writer Guillermo del Toro (known for his work on Pan’s Labyrinth and the Hellboy series) along with novice director Troy Nixey present a story of a family which recently acquired an ancient house and inherited the haunted past and inhabitants along with. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a story that very much resembles The Others (starring Nicole Kidman). Not in the story itself, but in the look and feel of the film. It, unfortunately, does not quite reach the same level of amazement or intrigue. In this film, del Toro shares this daunting, dark, and dangerous tale rather decently with some side stories or sub-plots that remain redundant and unnecessary.
Ironically, however, while heavily formulaic and predictable, the first two suspenseful acts tend to keep your attention more often than not and the performances, while slightly forced, work for this type of movie. (Convincing acting in a horror-type movie has got to be one of the most challenging jobs for an actor). Bailee Madison as Sally, the troubled little girl who is the object of obsession with the creatures of the dark, does an excellent job in her performance. After this performance, along with her others in Brothers, Just Go With It, and Bridge to Terabithia, expect to see more great parts for this young starlet.
So, what were the problems with this film?
Well, one might expect it to go downhill after the “creatures” are revealed in the movie. This happens in most horror flicks and is the reason why the big reveal is often delayed to keep your attention to the end. Believe it or not, the “reveal” moments of the creatures doesn’t distract or take away from the movie at all. I would even say that it helped the film. Their actions were creepy, their voices were evil, their motives were sinister. Good villains as far as horror/thriller villains are concerned. The main problem with this film is the third and final act.
After setting the stage for possibly being a thriller film that finally seeks to be different than the rest, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark wraps up with a disappointing finale reminiscent of Case 39 (Click HERE for review) or Orphan. While hoping for originality, the familiarity and unbelievability of the final act in this film causes it to descend back to the level of second-rate thriller.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark succeeds in bringing a level of creepiness and great suspense to the screen. There will be times that you cringe, gasp, shriek maybe, and cover your eyes, but all in all, it is nothing too far from what you’ve seen before. Katie Holmes is the same bland character, unfortunately Guy Pearce is forgettable, no one believes the little kid, and people die. No spoilers there. Rent it, and watch it with friends at night time in a dark room for a good laugh when everyone jumps at scary scenes!
…But, you don’t have to just take my word for it. Here’s what the First Fans had to say about the film: featuring my friend Casey Messer reporting!
Thanks for reading!
Enjoy if you wish…or don’t enjoy! Happy Watching!
–TheSp1der’s Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars for “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”
up next: Movie News Monday!