Release Date: August 26, 2011
Director: Troy Nixey
Stars: Katie Holmes, Bailee Madison, Guy Pearce
Runtime: 99 min
Tagline: Fear is never just make believe
This is a lesser effort from co-screenwriter Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth), but hell – geniuses are allowed to mess up every now and then.
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.
The daughter, played well by up-and-comer Bailee Madison, has layers because she’s all hyped up on medications and she feels abandoned by her mother. Her father (Guy Pearce) thinks that she’s just the little girl that cried wolf when she says little things are after her. Katie Holmes plays the girlfriend who is trying to make a good impression, and tries her very hardest to communicate with her.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark tries, it really does. The horror just isn’t good because there’s nasty teeth at times and there’s really only a few jump-scares. Sure, it can be creepy, but when the tiny villains are actually revealed – it becomes seriously laughable. I had a laughing fit at one point, it’s just so darn silly. The little things aren’t that threatening, probably because they’re just too CGI-animated and they come off as foolish. The characters really should just turn on a freaking light. Hint: when voices are calling to you from a vent, don’t answer. Idiots. The unrewarding film leads up to a questionable ending, that hardly makes sense.
The only points this will get from me is for: 1) the fact that it tried to be a little good, it just comes off as vastly below-average, 2) it tries to bring in real human emotions of abandonment and anxiety to some characters, even though the little girl is stupid as hell, and 3) if you are afraid of the dark, it might actually cure your fear, because you’ll think: “Hey… The dark isn’t so bad, all there is are those little idiots lurking around. I’ll just turn on my lamp on my bedside table. What a perfect kryptonite.”