¨We want you! ¨
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is the latest scary movie to once again fall short in what I consider a dying genre. Horror movies nowadays suffer from very poor scripts, the stories are really predictable because we`ve seen so many horror films, and they all rely heavily on special effects. Very few horror films actually manage to scare audiences, and most simply try to shock. At least this film isn`t gory, but there aren`t any scares either. The main problem I had with this movie were the villains: small Gremlin looking fairies. They just weren’t scary at all; they never seemed to present a threat. They are more funny looking than anything else. What really disappointed me the most about this movie however was the script because I was expecting more from Guillermo del Toro (Laberinto del Fauno and Hellboy). The story was actually weak and by the time the mystery about what was in the house disappeared so did my expectations. The mystery only lasts about 20 minutes and then we have to sit through 70 minutes of pointless storytelling. This was Troy Nixey`s directorial debut and in my opinion he failed big time. This film was actually based on a 1973 made for television movie of the same title which was directed by John Newland. It`s really hard nowadays to find an interesting horror flick that won’t disappoint. We don’t need to be warned about fearing the dark as long as these movies keep on failing to scare its audiences.
The movie opens with a strange murder that takes place in the large basement of a house. A famous painter named Blackwood (Garry McDonald) calls his housemaid (Edwina Ritchard) to come down to the basement where he patiently waits for her and kills her. He asks her to forgive him, but he has to do it in order to get his missing boy back. Some creatures that live under a fireplace seem to demand teeth in exchange for the boy`s life so Blackwood takes her teeth and offers them to the creatures, but instead of getting the boy back he is pulled down the fireplace and disappears. Many decades later a couple, Alex (Guy Pearce) and Kim (Katie Holmes), decides to buy the old house and restore it. While working on the house Alex`s ex wife sends his estranged daughter, Sally (Bailee Madison), to live with them. Sally isn’t happy about ¨being sold¨ by her mother and she isn`t very fond about Kim either. Sally is a very lonely and depressed girl, but she begins hearing voices in the house. One day while she is walking around the backyard she discovers a basement and Alex decides to open the sealed up room. Once they unlock the basement, some small creatures begin to haunt Sally in the darkness. Of course no one believes Sally since she has been so affected by trying to adapt to her new home. Since no one is willing to help her, she decides she will have to face her fear alone.
The story actually seemed kind of interesting at first, but as I said, once the mystery was over in the opening minutes of the film so was my interest. The story just goes downhill from there on with very little thing making sense. I was even disappointed with the ending of the film (in my opinion it didn’t make sense at all, but I can`t give anything away). It was good to see Katie Holmes back in a lead role and she did what she could with a weak script. Guy Pierce is a good actor, but this won`t be one he will be remembered for. As for Bailee Madison she is one of my favorite child actors. She is so adorable on screen, but this role simply wasn’t for her. She is much better in comedic roles, than in scary movies. The role of a depressive and sad kid wasn`t for her. I liked her much better in Just Go With It (a terrible movie starring Adam Sandler, but she was the best thing about it) and Brothers (a drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman). I actually decided to watch this film because I wanted to see what she could do in a horror movie (besides the fact that I wanted to see Katie Holmes back in action). Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark fails in so many levels and I was really disappointed. I really hope a good scary movie comes out before the year ends. I think the last horror movie I enjoyed was Paranormal Activity (and it`s been two years already).