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on November 16, 2011
As I start my review for "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" I must confess one thing: I'm not a fan of supernatural horror movies. While I admire haunted house films like "Poltergeist", I've always found this sub-genre of horror to be painfully dull and its characters to be agonizingly stupid ("The Amityville Horror", I'm looking at you). They usually have the same formula: a stupid, yuppie couple (occasionally with children) buy a house, move in, hear strange noises, and bad things happen. Rinse and repeat. So, going into "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark", my expectations were pretty low. After reading some not so positive reviews online, they sank even further. So is "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" worth screaming for? Well..more on that in a bit.

The film begins with a gruesome prologue shows the home's deranged first owner, Emerson Blackwood, luring his maid into the dungeon-like basement and performing medieval dentistry on the terrified young woman. As he carries out the atrocity, he explains to the young maid that they, the goblin-like creatures known as Homunculi, have taken his son and will only give him back with teeth. As the young woman screams, whispering can be heard all around the room from the sealed up fireplace. Blackwood makes his way over to the fireplace and offers the teeth in exchange for the return of his son, only to be told his offering wasn't acceptable and he is pulled into the fireplace. The basement is sealed and forgotten over the generations.

The movie then opens with a young girl, Sally Hirst (Bailee Madison), moving into Blackwood Manor, the Gothic mansion being restored by her architect father Alex (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes), an interior decorator. Her father is renovating the house they live in, in hopes of having it on the front page of a known magazine. Due to the fact that her mother recently abandoned her, Sally has become a distant child with emotional vulnerability. Although Kim tries to befriend her, Sally alienates herself from her.

One day, Sally hears voices calling her name and follows them -- finding a hidden basement with a fireplace that has been bolted shut. She is drawn toward the fireplace, as she can hear voices that beg her to open it, promising friendship. One day she sneaks into the basement to open the fireplace, but her father stops her before she can get the door completely open. The Homunculi escape, however, and begin to torment Sally at night telling her to turn the lights out.

As the days progress, Kim finds one of her dresses shredded. Shortly afterward, a teddy bear that Kim gave to Sally is found destroyed underneath her bed after she yelled for her Dad having been scared by the creatures. Sally claims that someone (or something) else is to blame for these things, but her father does not believe her and is preoccupied with renovating the house. Kim, however, begins to believe her claims, as strange incidents occur more frequently. But is it too late?

"Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" is over-the-top, melodramatic, and full of plot holes. But, you know what dear reader, I loved every minute of it. This is the kind of movie in which logic is thrown out the door before the opening credits even begin. It is atmospheric in a way that has been missing from most horror movies today. Those that were disappointed by the lack of Gothic overtones in the "Fright Night" remake will be in Heaven here. The sets are gorgeous and the fluid use of cinematography is inviting in a way that makes you feel at home with these gawkily little creatures. The acting here is a bit hit or miss. Guy Pearce is terrible as the father who doesn't seem to care whether his girlfriend or his daughter lives or dies. His performance is bland to the point of sleepwalking through his role. Katie Holmes, on the other hand, is a revelation. It's nice to see a strong, female role in which she is neither helpless nor a shrewd bitch. She thoroughly blew me away and has a few very touching scenes with Madison. Madison makes for a convincingly scared child but her performance is a bit hit or miss. Overall, if you are in the mood for a moody, Gothic treat, you could do far, far worse than "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark".
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on October 21, 2015
This is a really really great movie - oh my word the actors are so believable!
To me this is the best kind of scary movie genre - not too graphic, done with class, good cinema photo work, awesome sets - A+++

Highly recommend if you like Woman in Black.
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on October 29, 2015
just watched don't be afraid of the dark (2010). totally loved it, and was actually a little tense, just as i was as a child watching the original. the end was an uncompromising punch in the gut. i actually involuntarily put my hand over my heart. i've never liked katie holmes more; actually, i've never liked her at all, and i generally feel like she drags down every picture she's in, but not so in this case. she rocks, and i could really feel her parent-ness rising to the fore. she was really great. i assume she was named kim as a tribute to the original's kim darby, which was a nice touch. madison bailey as sally was something of a revelation, very effectively portraying abject fear, sadness, loneliness, and that perpetual kid-in-monster-movies-drag of not being believed. she and holmes were wonderful together, and guy pearce provided what he needed to. while the creatures were revealed a little too early, i thought they were pretty nifty, and managed to honor the original creatures without being nearly as goofy; these things reeked of evil intent. gothic and lovely, with sprawling gardens and the type of house that is every kids dream and nightmare, don't be afraid of the dark was awesome and kept me pleasantly on edge.
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on June 27, 2015
Though a bit different than the original Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark, which came out in the seventies (I believe) this was a pretty good remake. The original was a "for television" Friday night horror thing. I was very young and I can't exactly remember what the weekly show was called, but my aunt and I would get so excited in anticipation of the weekly scare fest. A few of the movies were pretty good for the time. I remember one about a doll that was pretty creepy, but the one that I remember the most is this one that has come back to haunt us again. Katie Holmes did a wonderful job, and the little girl did too, but in the original, the WIFE was Sally, not the little child. I remember the creepy little voices floating up out of the fireplace grill....."Sally...Salllllyyy...Sall..." Brrrrrrrr. Of course this modern version was a full length movie; great effects, great creature features...the little evil fairies (I think it's the basis for the tooth fairy thrown in there) a modge podge of Grimm fairy tale meets Amityville horror. I thought is was worth the price of a rental. I think I'm going to try to find the seventies version and watch it. I'll probably have to buy a remaster, but I think it would be worth it. Those of us that seen the first one I know would get a kick out of seeing something that gave me a case of the real heebie jebbies!
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on July 13, 2015
Guillermo Del Toro delivers again this movie is incredibly creepy. The creature design is simple but effective and they atmosphere is effective. When a couple moves into an old house and begins to bring it back to its former glory they find something they did not expect. The house had belonged to a man who wrote children's stories one day his child disappeared then he did and no one knew why. There are little fae in the house but these are not the Disney version they want to take the child and will do anything to keep from being locked away again....
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on July 30, 2014
The original one was such a scary TV MADE MOVIE. THIS remake is OKAY. It has beautiful , yet bizarre house .The house is the setting in this movie , what lives in it is another . My 7 year old granddaughter really digs scary movies .She thought the residents that lives in the house were creepy and evil looking . But we are not worried about her having bad dreams tonight . Anyone who truly is afraid of the dark and watches this movie might want a flashlight or two , and probably won't look under the bed anytime soon. The original "DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK " stars KIM DARBY . She was the young girl who held her own next to JOHN WAYNE in the original "TRUE GRIT " . Her character in this "DARK"movie isn't a child , but a young married woman. I am going to purchase the original "DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK " to add to our collection and so my granddaughter could experience the differences in how MOVIES have changed. THANKS for reading , BYE .
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on March 17, 2016
This was a great movie! I enjoyed the creepy factor of the basement and all of its inhabitants! If you are interested in enjoying a petty good storyline with some definite chills and thrills, this one is pretty good! This may not be in my all-time top ten for horror, but the acting is good, story is original, and it's an enjoyable ride from start to finish! Enjoy the show!
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on December 5, 2014
This is a charming, fun & scary, thriller! I love it! It had me at, the edge of my seat! From start to finish! This movie is a winner! Catchy plot! The mysterious house! The creepy, unexplained sounds! And these army, of little monster! That only come out in the dark! I also love how little Sally, so brave! And stands her ground. And doesn't back down, from these little creatures! And doesn't stop till, someone believes her. That these creatures exist! The moment I saw ( Katie Holmes) was in it. I wanted to watch it! I'm a (Dawson's Creek) fan. I also think ( Guy Pearce) is a good actor too. If you buy this movie. You wouldn't regret it! Good Movie!! I also recommend this seller! Prompt/ Service! Satisfaction Guaranteed!!
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on April 14, 2015
This movie is dark, beautiful, classical and terrifying. On a list of disturbing scenarios this one is very much at the top. Vicious, sharp, deadly and smart these creatures are fearless in bringing terror right to you in the dark. They are angry and ready to steal your soul. The movie taps into ones ancient fear of the dark and combines it with the fear of clever and devious villains trying to harm you. The story was great and the movie does justice to the original. I hope a sequel is made. Enjoy.
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on April 11, 2015
The dvd itself was is great condition, picture quality was good too - but the movie itself... it was "okay", I really thought this horror movie was going to be awesome but I've seen better. Sorry to give a disappointing critique of this movie, but I love horror movies and this one didn't quite live up to my expectations. However, if you're not as critical about movies as I am (lol) and are looking for a scary movie to watch, then you should see this - it wasn't terrible, just "ok" in my opinion.
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