Let’s be clear about this. ‘Afraid of the Dark’ is dreadful. The script is dreadful, the direction is dreadful, the effects are dreadful. The acting? You guessed it. The whole ‘Not suitable for those of a nervous disposition’ marketing shtick is just that: marketing shtick, cribbed from the far superior ‘Ghost Stories’. But at least the whole thing’s internally consistent. With a plot immersed in the world of the Hollywood B-Picture, this is a cynical cash-grab in the tradition of the worst ’50s drive-thru hokum.
The action is atrociously constructed and unforgivably talky, as a struggling studio finds inspiration for their next schlocky monster movie from a mysterious stranger. In it, ex-vaudeville star Henry Charlier hands each member of the film’s company a sealed envelope that brings terrible nightmares, dreadful visions and eventually…
Director Ian Talbot should know better, his work here is seriously substandard, and the scares and illusions by Darren Lang are laughable. Julian Forsyth is actually acting in his turn as the creepy Charlier, and hence feels totally out of place.
The script is credited to ‘Anonymous’, so in absence of anyone concrete to blame, I’m directing my ire towards ‘Literary Consultant’ Jack Bradley. Oh, Jack. What were you thinking, Jack? How could you let this happen?
By Stewart Pringle