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Don't be Afraid of the Dark (2 stars)

Unimaginitive reboot of 70s cult horror film

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Don't be Afraid of the Dark

(15) 99min

Looming large in the childhood memories of many US pop culture aficionados, the original Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark was a minor but effective 1973 TV movie in which Jim Hutton and Kim Darby played a couple menaced by demonic creatures in a haunted house.

Producer Guillermo del Toro focuses instead on Sally (Bailee Madison), the daughter of couple Kim (Katie Holmes) and Alex (Guy Pearce), who are sprucing up the interior of their new home. Sally finds a furnace in the basement where she believes monstrous sprites are living, but struggles to convince her parents that the creatures exist.

In re-imagining Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, del Toro pays tribute to a film he clearly loves, but with first-time director Troy Nixey seemingly directing by proxy, there’s little sign of the style or imagination of Pan’s Labyrinth or The Devil’s Backbone. Both versions of Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark hark back to HP Lovecraft’s story The Rats in The Walls, but comic book artist Nixey’s CGI creations are somewhat cheesier that Lovecraft’s many-splendoured, but far nastier creations.

Selected release from Fri 7 Oct.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Theatrical Trailer

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

  • 2 stars
  • 2010
  • USA/Australia/Mexico
  • 99 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Troy Nixey
  • Written by: Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins
  • Cast: Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, Bailee Madison, Jack Thompson

While Kim (Holmes) and Alex (Pearce) spruce up their new house, daughter Sally (Madison) finds a furnace in the basement where she believes monsters are living. Producer del Toro pays tribute to the eponymous 1973 TV movie, but debut director Nixey lacks del Toro's style or imagination.

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