Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

"Excellent"

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark Review


This inventive horror film plays to our deepest childhood fears. It's like a demented variation on The Borrowers, and first-rate acting and effects work combine to thoroughly creep us out.

Shy, artistic 8-year-old Sally (Madison) moves across the country to live with her architect dad Alex (Pearce) and his designer girlfriend Kim (Holmes) in a massive old Rhode Island mansion. But she soon starts hearing strange noises, and after discovering a boarded-up basement studio, things start getting a bit freaky. But how can she convince her sceptical father and the stepmum she doesn't trust that there's something in the house that wants to tear the family apart? Even after the handyman (Thompson) is attacked, Alex continues his renovations so he can lure a buyer (Dale).

Essentially, this is a suspense-film formula with a claustrophobic point of view, as we identify with the increasingly isolated Sally. She sees what's going on, but Dad dismisses her warnings, and it's only the interloper Kim who slowly starts listening to her. Then Kim's dawning understanding allows us to get the full back-story, which we glimpsed in a brief gothic prologue.

In other words, this is masterful screenwriting, and Nixey directs the film with a sure hand. This enormous house is terrifying even full of people in broad daylight, so when it's empty at night the intensity is almost unbearable.

Especially since the menace only emerges in the dark. And the effects work is excellent, realistically woven into the fabric of the scenes as the filmmakers gradually let us see what the threat is.

The cast makes it even more authentic, with throwaway moments of humour, witty nods to scary movies and a quietly realistic exploration of the tensions between these three people as they try to form a family. The story is told in an economic way that never wastes a moment on screen or tries to shock us with a cheap jolt. Each set piece is part of the plot, so each jarring moment of terror gets deeply under our skin. And it'll make you pause for a second when you switch your lights off to go to sleep.



Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Run time: 99 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th August 2011

Box Office USA: $24.0M

Budget: $12.5M

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Miramax Films, FilmDistrict, Necropia, Gran Via Productions, Tequila Gang

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Fresh: 94 Rotten: 67

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Troy Nixey

Starring: as Kim, as Alex Hirst, as Sally Hirst, as Jacoby, as Harris, Emelia Burns as Caterer, Eddie Ritchard as Housekeeper, Nicholas Bell as Psychiatrist, James Mackay as Librarian

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.