Friday, 05 June 2020
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Thursday, 01 September 2011 18:37
Don't Be Afraid of the DarkGuillermo Del Toro knows good horror. The Mexican genius writer/director/visionary has brought to life some of the most visually artistic, and creepy, films of the past decade such as The Devil’s Backbone, both Hellboy films and his masterpiece Pan’s Labyrinth. With Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark he takes a back seat to first time director Troy Nixey, but his trademark moody atmosphere is all over this remake.

Newly shacked-up Alex (Guy Pearce) and Kim (Katie Holmes) are a professional couple hell bent on flipping a centuries old mansion once owned by a famous painter. But the dark corridors, dozens of rooms and treacherous boarded up basement hide a secret past… Wouldn’t be a horror movie without one!

altWhen Alex’s young daughter Sally (Bailee Madison) gets shipped out to live with them, she is depressed and not interested in getting to know Kim. The only thing that seems to spark her interest is that creepy iron grate in the basement and the voices that whisper to her. Yeah, cause the first thing I would want to do is make friends with the scary creatures trapped in the basement…

From here the story is predictably frustrating. All your horror movie clichés make an appearance including the grumpy old caretaker and doing research at the local library. The biggest downfall of the film is watching the characters act like idiots and make every worst possible choice, like leaving Sally alone in the house or turning off all the lights when there is obviously something terrible happening.

altThe film has one thing going for it and that is the creepy, moody atmosphere of the house. The opening scene is by far the best in the film and sets the tone for an all-out chiller – but the rest of the film doesn’t follow through. When you finally see the creatures, they are obviously computer animated which takes away a lot of the scare factor.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark peaked my interest enough that I want to give the original 1973 film a try. Some of the best horror films of all time came out of the 70’s, back in the days when the monsters under your bed were made of flesh and blood instead of pixels.


Directed by Troy Nixey, Starring Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes, Bailee Madison.

If you like Guillermo Del Toro’s style check out The Orphanage, an excellent Mexican horror film he produced.