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Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
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Don't Be Afraid of the Dark More at IMDbPro »

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163 out of 254 people found the following review useful:

House of Gothicism

Author: alexart-1 from United States
9 August 2011

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is exactly the kind of horror movie you want to hate. It's a remake, it involves a child in peril, and it contains some (and I say "some") very nasty violence. Just watch--you'll have trouble hating it.

Guillermo del Toro's new collaborative effort with first-time director Troy Nixey is, simply put, horror done right. There's a lot here that can be found in any horror movie that comes out now, but this one succeeds for relying on tone and setting rather than blood and guts. The acting from all three leads is surprisingly good, and Nixey shines as well behind the camera.

However, at the heart of the film is a ballsy story co-written by del Toro that really keeps the film stable. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is originally based on a 1973 British TV movie that has been hailed as one of the scariest movies ever made. The remake features a new main character: Sally, a child, played by Bailee Madison. Sally moves into a new Gothic mansion with her father (Guy Pearce) and a new stepmother (Katie Holmes). There, she discovers a ventilation system where she hears breathy voices calling to play with her. At first, the voices are friendly. Then, they're vicious and violent.

The violence of the movie is one of the reasons why this movie succeeds so nicely. The first scene is grisly and is, without a doubt, the reason why Don't Be Afraid of the Dark earned its R-rating rather than its intended PG-13. There isn't constant violence. In fact, there isn't even that much of it. Most of it is bloodless, but all of it is enough to make us squeamish and afraid.

Another area in which the movie excels in that respect is its design. The mansion that Nixey and del Toro chose is gorgeous. The intense lighting, which Nixey noted as "inspired by Rembrandt" in the Q&A following the film, is moody and adds to the heavy tone of the movie. The house is just creepy on its own, but it becomes creepier thanks to the creature design. Unlike what the trailer tells you, the creatures are pretty tiny. What creeped me out about them was the loud, shrill screeches they let out. It'll give you chills. Keep a keen ear and listen for del Toro, as he voices a few of the creatures.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is a very fun and very creepy horror movie experience. Though not without its flaws, it has a strong story stabilized by good characters and a surprisingly dark ending, and it's got some good acting too. It's hard not to be absorbed in the mesmerizing light pools of the mansion, and it's even harder not to be entertained. As usual in del Toro films, darkness and unseen monsters reign, and as usual, it's pretty damn unnerving.

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95 out of 135 people found the following review useful:

Not much need to be afraid of this remake

Author: inkleinedpuncture from United States
27 August 2011

Pros: beautiful scenery/sets, a few good jumps, and about 5-10 minutes of eerie atmosphere

Cons: not very scary, too much CGI'd gremlins, and a very predictable/slow plot

Conclusion: rent the original and skip this remake

The much anticipated, by me, remake of the 1973 made for TV movie of the same name left me feeling extremely disappointed. The plot was fairly simple. A young girl Sally (Bailee Madison) moves in with her father Alex (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes), into a house Alex and Kim are fixing up to sell. Soon upon arriving, adventurous Sally discovers the house has a basement and that the family is not alone. The basement's fireplace is inhabited by little CGI'd creatures that terrorize the family, especially Sally. The actors I felt all did an adequate job playing their parts, especially young Sally (Bailee Madison), who played a convincingly cynical little girl fed up with being 'sold' by her mother to live with her father. Overall the movie was very predictable and offered very few scary moments. The creatures from the original, people dressed in little goblin costumes, were sparingly showed. I think it was way more effective than the over-shown little gremlins in this movie, which looked to me like Chihuahuas that could speak. Save your money and skip this one!

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52 out of 66 people found the following review useful:

Inept, clichéd, poorly edited, huge unexplained plot holes

Author: Stanley Strangelove from Portland, Oregon US
30 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is totally inept. It's one of those films where the characters behave so stupidly you can't believe it. Every scene is a horror film cliché. As for horror, there is none. Some of the scenes are so darkly lit you cannot tell what is going on and I have a feeling the cinematographer did not know what he was doing. As for the script, plot holes abound. Things happen and then are dropped. Characters pop in the movie and are never seen again. One scene will suffice. SPOILER: The grounds keeper is attacked by the creatures with screwdrivers and box cutters, he staggers up the stairs, falls face down on the floor in front of his wife and the little girl. When the husband comes home, the man's wife tells him that her husband has had an "accident". No one asks how he had an "accident" with a screwdriver stuck into his eye and a pair of scissors in his shoulder. I was really disappointed with this movie. I would say save your money.

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79 out of 123 people found the following review useful:

Nothing To Be Afraid Of

Author: Joseph Brando from NJ, USA
21 September 2011

When I first heard about the plot of the "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark" remake, I was disappointed that they decided to add the unnecessary element of a child to the story. Ironically, the portrayal of the daughter by Bailee Madison was one of the few highlights this movie had to offer. With all the creepy Gothic imagery, spiderwebs and shadows, this movie failed to create any of the suspense generated by the fairly moderate surroundings of the original. The CGI demons were absolutely ridiculous, and with complete certainty I can state that the raisin- faced-doll demons of the 40-year-old original TV movie were much creepier. Katie Holmes, although likable, must be one of the world's worst actresses, unable of conjuring up any emotion other then a perky turned up nose for all occasions. It is truly remarkable to see her constantly upstaged by the child actress in this film who forces you to believe everything she is feeling. I can only recommend this as a starter horror film for young children, or background TV while you pay your bills online - you won't miss anything.

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39 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

A real missed opportunity

Author: zoydbond from Lithuania
2 October 2011

Well. Where to start?

This is a film that starts badly, and save two relatively well executed scenes, gets worse. If you have seen the original seventies TV movie you will be sorely disappointed. What made the original frightening was the bareness of the plot, the ordinariness of the location and the bleakness of the ending. All of these elements have been removed. The story is over written, the location of overly ornate, and the ending, although quite nasty, is not as disturbing as it should have been. Add to this the frankly deplorable CGI and iffy direction. Well...

The kid is good though (that's where the 4 points comes from)

Verdict: Don't be afraid of avoiding don't be afraid of the dark

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27 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Attack of the CGI furry babies!

Author: Kristine ( from Chicago, Illinois
12 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw the trailer for Don't be afraid of the Dark a few months ago and really wanted to see it, I begged my boyfriend but as always he makes fun of the fact how much I love horror movies and didn't take me. So I had to wait for the rental and now I actually find myself thanking him that we didn't waste our money on this stupid movie. I love haunted house stories, I think since Paranormal Activity, everyone has had their eyes back on that genre of horror. So naturally comes a remake from the 70's comes along that was a haunting child horror story and let's make it the most ridicules looking thing you'll ever see in your life.

In Blackwood Manor eight-year old Sally Hurst arrives in Rhode Island to live with her father Alex and his girlfriend Kim, both restoring it to put it on the market for their client Mr. Jacoby. Sally is depressed due to her mother forcefully putting her in Alex's care. On the first night of her stay, Sally is given a carousel-styled nightlight, the melodious tune it plays awakening the creatures in the ash pit. The next day, Sally wanders the grounds and finds the hidden basement's skylight. However, one of the workman restoring the house, Mr. Harris, warns her, Alex and Kim not to venture into the basement, although they do regardless. Sally takes interest in the sealed fireplace where she hears the creatures calling her name, and follows the mysterious voices. They are now haunting her and will do anything to get her down into the dark.

Where to start with the plot holes in this movie? The creatures are supposedly scared of light yet can walk through a party where there is light everywhere and somehow they could make it under the table? Then how is it that the handy man is attacked by these creatures, getting stabbed all over the place, including the scissors in his shoulder and when the maid comes in he says he had an accident! How you explain that one? The tool box just exploded? Of course you have the cliché where the father doesn't believe his daughter despite numerous episodes of her screaming hysterically that there are things attacking her and then his girlfriend tells him to listen but that's not enough apparently.

They also show a lot of these little monsters that are just laughable, I'm sorry but they did not terrify me in the least little bit. You step on them, they're little bugs, no big deal. They don't have any super powers, they have to convince children to follow them with stupid little faces so naturally as an adult this is just stupid. They don't fly, don't hypnotize people, don't have super strength, so it's just lame. The ending didn't make any sense what so ever. The only thing I could give the film credit too is that the atmosphere was creepy. The sets were amazing and did give a good way to give little chills here and there. Also when Sally looks under her sheet to see what creeped under, that was a pretty frightening scene if it wasn't for the silly CGI effects. But it wasn't enough to save the movie sadly. I was really looking forward to this movie, but it was a total let down, it's not scary or enjoyable and honestly after I'm done writing this review I'll probably forget about this movie.


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29 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Don't be afraid of the afraid of this movie

Author: noulie1 from Canada
29 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After seeing the very creepy and scary commercials on TV, I was finally persuaded (after much resistance) by my friends to go see this movie. I should have put up more of a fuss because after watching it, all I can say is I want that 1:45 min of my life back. The couple next to me left halfway through the movie...I should have gone with them. The most entertaining part of this film was the audience's reaction to how bad and cheesy it was. I frighten very easily but nothing about this movie is scary (unless of course you count the preview for Dream House they showed before the that scared me!!)

The movie had potential....the opening scene with the old man and the maid had me intrigued and I was looking forward to a good scare. It didn't follow through and I was left disappointed. Once they introduced the creatures the movie became laughable...literally. Every time they appeared on the screen most of the audience laughed. Their erratic behaviour and odd screaming reminded me too much of the 80's movie Gremlins....which I'm sure scared me back then....but I was also 7 at the time.

If you're looking for a movie that will chill you to the bone, do yourselves a favour and skip this one. I gave this a 2 out of 10 only because of the little girl's acting during the 'frightening' scenes. While the other actors fell way short, for the most part her fear seemed genuine.

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29 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

All beauty and no brains

Author: CrazyCurlsChica from United States
3 September 2011

The scenery of the film is breath-taking. The house is exquisite, and as always, del Toro does an immaculate job creating an ominous and foreboding mood. The scares in this movie are well thought out and are not the cheap thrills Hollywood has come to depend on, and the film did a good job building momentum.

However, that being said, the plot and its lack of logicality stop the film dead in its tracks. The stupidity of the film goes beyond the typical, "No, don't go in there!" that one typically expects in a horror film. The ridiculousness of the characters' actions makes this film frustrating and near impossible to appreciate.

I saw this film because I love "haunted house" films, I'm an old Katie Holmes fan from her Dawson's Creek Days, and I think Bailee Madison is adorable, and therefore, I'm awarding one point for each redeeming quality in the movie - 1) awesome scenery, 2) Katie Holmes, and 3) Bailee Madison.

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32 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Too Much Exposure of the Creatures

Author: hotfuzz25 from United States
29 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie looked promising from what I saw in the trailers. Little creatures running around, mainly unseen. The part in the trailer where the thing jumps at you from under the sheets, unfortunately, that's the only "jumpy" part in the movie. The rest of the movie? Well, we see the scares coming. The movie literally shows you where the creatures are in the house, and the room, before the "scary" part happens. We watch them run behind a teddy bear. They then move the bear's arms and have it say "I love you," which is what it normally says without help. Then they push it off the shelf. When the girl is taking a bath, we watch the creatures run up to the tub. We then see them on the rim of the tub walking slowly up to her, with her watching them. Eerie feeling? Slightly. Scared? Nope. Remember the first Alien movie? Remember it was scary because you didn't see the creature until the end. That's the format this movie should have followed. You saw the little things so many times, and not just their eyes. You got to see exactly what they look like standing still towards the beginning of the movie. That takes the creepiness out of whatever's stalking you. These little things use tools that are lying around as "weapons." They apparently can't hurt you with their own powers. It kind of reminds you of Puppet Master. As far as story. Very little. There isn't a "shocking" ending nor is there any kind of emotional attachment to the characters. I found myself actually praying that the little girl would end up being taken away by the little creatures. I also couldn't help but hate the father, and step-mother, because of their refusal to do anything about their daughter seeing things. When the step-mother, Katie Holmes, finally believes the little girl, she agrees that they must leave the house, but decides that it will be the next morning, because the dinner party can't be put off. This movie is only worth renting if you are planning on having a lot of people over, and adding your own dialogue.

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18 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

This movie is a waste of time!!!!

Author: fugi_y from United States
21 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I didn't read everyone's review here but I did get to zadaw's review. I completely agree with everything you pointed out! Here's some of my own to add to yours...

Spoiler Alert!!

1. OK so when Sally went into the basement to unscrew the RUSTED bolts from the furnace; this is just comedy because there is no way in hell she is able to unscrew those rusted bolts! Especially with an adjustable wrench! Im guessing she's anywhere between 60-70lbs, she's going to need a whole lot more than elbow grease to unscrew those two bolts!

2. Bath scene; how the hell did those gremlins get inside the medicine cabinet? Did they magically appear inside it? Sally is smart enough to use a wrench to unscrew some bolts, and yet she doesn't have the common sense to turn the damn lights back on? Plus, did the water magically disappear from the bath tub or did she imagine taking a bath the whole time? WTF!!!

3. Dinner; did the guy sitting next to Sally not notice that something was pulling Sally's napkin from under the table? When she ran out of the dining room, everyone had their full attention on her and yet NO ONE saw the little gremlin running a few feet away from her? And when she was in the library getting harassed by these little creatures, I guess it never occurred to her to turn the damn lights on?! And yet, she knows that they hate lights! Good god!

4. 24hr sun? WTF??!! OK did anyone who was involved in making this film not notice that in almost all or maybe all (don't remember) of the scenes where Sally was sleeping or when it was taking place at night that there was daylight shining in through the windows? Take for example the last scene, it was nighttime raining with thunderstorms. The little creatures killed the power and you see a shot of the entire house in full darkness and yet, when Kate fell down the stairs and when the little creatures were dragging Sally down the stairs, did all the freaking staff fell asleep while this scene was being filmed? Someone kill me!

5. Kim falling down the stairs! C'mon, she fell down a few flight of stairs and yet she couldn't move and passed out? Ridiculous, I've fallen 10ft from a tree with only grass to break my fall and I got up and walked away fine! Oh wait, that's not all, she was WALKING down the stairs, there is no way in hell that piece of wire is going to make a cut that deep nor should it have, and to make matters worse she was wearing a pair of jeans! The worst thing that could've happen was this, she tripped, fell, used her hands to break her fall, rolled down the stairs, got up! Wow!

6. Rushing to get out; OK so WTF??!! Both Kim and Alex knew Sally was in trouble, and what was the first thing you see them grab? LOL! No, not Sally but a pillow and blanket! Wow, the kid is in danger, yet the pillow and a blanket seems to be of more importance to them!

7. The little creatures were struggling to drag Sally (remember 60-70lbs) into the basement, yet when Kim cut Sally loose from the rope, did the rope magically wrap around Kim's injured leg? And did the little creatures somehow magically got super little creature strength and manage to break her leg while the rope was magically wrapped around it? Causing her to be dragged into the furnace? Oh wait, and here's what kills me, when Alex rushed down the flight of stairs into the furnace, he as a full view of what was taking place below, and yet, when he rushed below how the hell did he not notice that Kim was in the furnace? This move is totally worthless!

If you guys want to see some real horror movies check out Insidious, Lake Mungo, or Grave Encounters, any of those are a million times better than this piece of junk!

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