Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #303 Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

In Uncategorized on August 28, 2011 at 12:00 AM

Movie #303 Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

(2011, US, d. Troy Nixey)

Based off of a 70’s film of the same name, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark does its very best of trying to be a unique horror film in the vein of something Guillermo Del Toro would make. After all, Del Toro is the producer and co-writer of the film, at one point even slated to direct it. But where Dark goes wrong, though, is with the script. For after trying so hard to be original, it just falls into the trap of being a painfully average horror film. It doesn’t help that this film was written years and years ago – unable to sense patterns with the modern horror genre. It doesn’t help that a newcomer is directing it. But most of all it doesn’t help that this film just isn’t scary. I’m serious. I’m a pansy at movie theaters, but never before have I been so stoic sitting and watching a film at the theaters. First of all, the “evil” in the haunted house just turns out to be a bunch of little ugly pixies that want people’s teeth, or at least those of little children. Second, every scare is predictable. You know exactly when the filmmakers will tease you, when they will show you something, and when something big is about to happen. Third, the film never captures the mood it sets out to, which should be a sort of blend of horror, gothic, and fantasy. This is the mood so perfected in Pan’s Labyrinth but failed here. There is only scene in the film that is worthy of praise. It is a film that takes place at a crowded dinner table when one of these pixies tries hurting our main character. played by the young Baillee Madison. It is a film that combines horror, with fantasy, and with strange humor. And that is the perfect tone this film could never grasp. There are some good things, though: Katie Holmes does a wonderful job here. I don’t know if that reaction is from genuine talent or my surprise that she wasn’t that bad. But the basic line is that Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is basically like every other haunted house story: a lesson in parenting, and a painfully average lesson at that.


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