Don't Be Afraid of the DarkAugust 26, 2011
A young girl sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend discovers creatures in her new home who want to claim her as one of their own.
Release Year: 2010
Rating: 5.7/10 (15,366 voted)
Critic's Score: 56/100
Stars: Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, Bailee Madison
A young girl is sent to live with her estranged father and his girlfriend at their new home. The father, Alex has plans to spruce up the home with the help of his interior decorator girlfriend, Kim. The previous owner of the home was a famous painter who mysteriously disappeared. Alex's daughter, Sally, soon discovers the cause of the painter's disappearance.
Writers: Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins
(as Edwina Ritchard)
Airport Cart Driver
Release Date: 26 August 2011
Filming Locations: Central City Studios, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $8,525,728
(28 August 2011)
(13 November 2011)
Did You Know?
In the original
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Sally was Alex's wife, not daughter, while in this version a woman named Kim is his wife. In the original Sally, Alex's wife, was played by an actress named Kim – Kim Darby.
At the dinner party, Sally's leggings are plain. When she's pushing the library shelves, a close-up of her feet shows striped leggings.
House of Gothicism
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is exactly the kind of horror movie you
want to hate. It's a remake, it involves a child in peril, and it
contains some (and I say "some") very nasty violence. Just
watch–you'll have trouble hating it.
Guillermo del Toro's new collaborative effort with first-time director
Troy Nixey is, simply put, horror done right. There's a lot here that
can be found in any horror movie that comes out now, but this one
succeeds for relying on tone and setting rather than blood and guts.
The acting from all three leads is surprisingly good, and Nixey shines
as well behind the camera.
However, at the heart of the film is a ballsy story co-written by del
Toro that really keeps the film stable. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is
originally based on a 1973 British TV movie that has been hailed as one
of the scariest movies ever made. The remake features a new main
character: Sally, a child, played by Bailee Madison. Sally moves into a
new Gothic mansion with her father (Guy Pearce) and a new stepmother
(Katie Holmes). There, she discovers a ventilation system where she
hears breathy voices calling to play with her. At first, the voices are
friendly. Then, they're vicious and violent.
The violence of the movie is one of the reasons why this movie succeeds
so nicely. The first scene is grisly and is, without a doubt, the
reason why Don't Be Afraid of the Dark earned its R-rating rather than
its intended PG-13. There isn't constant violence. In fact, there isn't
even that much of it. Most of it is bloodless, but all of it is enough
to make us squeamish and afraid.
Another area in which the movie excels in that respect is its design.
The mansion that Nixey and del Toro chose is gorgeous. The intense
lighting, which Nixey noted as "inspired by Rembrandt" in the Q&A
following the film, is moody and adds to the heavy tone of the movie.
The house is just creepy on its own, but it becomes creepier thanks to
the creature design. Unlike what the trailer tells you, the creatures
are pretty tiny. What creeped me out about them was the loud, shrill
screeches they let out. It'll give you chills. Keep a keen ear and
listen for del Toro, as he voices a few of the creatures.
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is a very fun and very creepy horror movie
experience. Though not without its flaws, it has a strong story
stabilized by good characters and a surprisingly dark ending, and it's
got some good acting too. It's hard not to be absorbed in the
mesmerizing light pools of the mansion, and it's even harder not to be
entertained. As usual in del Toro films, darkness and unseen monsters
reign, and as usual, it's pretty damn unnerving.