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

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