Written by / 8/29/2011 / No comments / , ,

DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (2011)

title: DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK
year: 2011
cast: Katie Holmes, Bailee Madison, Guy Pearce, Jack Thompson, Julia Blake
rating: **1/2

If you’re five minutes late, it might be a blessing. The violent prologue, setting up the mansion, its original owner, and an unlucky victim – and then catching a silhouetted glimpse of the intruding beasts – takes away from the essential buildup thereafter. Director Guillermo Del Toro does a decent job introducing our characters: a father, future step-mother, and young daughter moving into an old house for restoration (although the constantly trolling camera is somewhat dizzying). Like the creepy but flawed seventies original, there are whispering voices inside a grate within the house's dusty cellar, and the girl, Sally… played remarkably by Bailee Madison…. is in-tune with the wraiths and their secret world (sort of an obscured, demonic Narnia), which she initially figures to be elves or gnomes.First-billed star Katie Holmes does very little, save for investigating the house’s past as Sally battles the tiny goons: resembling spider monkeys hybrid with silverfish… while Guy Pearce is the dolt that makes everyone stay put. While Del Toro’s mistake is showing too much of the computerized monsters, taking away from what could have been much scarier if prolonged and implied, he does present one extremely jarring close-up. Unfortunately, this is the only scene where our frightened protagonist seems completely vulnerable. But throughout the hit-and-miss, Bailee Madison alone garners enough sympathy for the audience to keep interested till the end. And rabid horror fans should know: this is more of a dark fantasy than the genre you're itching for.
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