Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Film, Horror
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(6user reviews)
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Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
A long-cherished project for co-writer and co-producer Guillermo del Toro, this re-working of the 1973 TV movie that terrified a whole generation of American viewers is maybe a little too close to his own heart. Directed by Troy Nixey in an elegant style that recalls classic ghost stories, it pays loving attention to characterisation, atmosphere and design. Yet there is something academic about its skilfully calibrated supernatural scares – like the lovingly restored late-Victorian house in which it is set – leaving the film looking beautiful yet somehow embalmed.

After an arresting opening, in which the master of Blackwood House lures a housemaid to the dark basement and makes a macabre, ritualistic offering that brings a whole new meaning to the The Tooth Fairy myth, the action flashes forward a century to the present. The modern-day occupants of the house – architect Alex Hirst (Guy Pearce), his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) and Alex’s young daughter from his failed marriage, Sally (Bailee Madison) – are drawn in turn to the secret places beneath its light and airy interiors.

The one major change from the ’70s film is that the protagonist, the architect’s wife in the original, is now a child, Sally. Arriving unexpectedly, as her busy and neglectful father’s renovation project nears its completion, the lonely Sally rejects his girlfriend’s friendly overtures and falls prey to the whispering voices of the skittering homunculi who call out to her in the dark, ‘Come and play with us, Sally.’ There is so much here that one admires, one wishes that there was more to love.

By: Nigel Floyd


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday August 12 2011
Duration: 99 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Troy Nixey
Cast: Katie Holmes
Guy Pearce
Bailee Madison
1 person listening

This was a great movie. I can only assume that most of the negative reviews are from people who enjoy cheap scare tactic cinema. I'm a fan of Del Toro & can easily see why he has put his name to this story. I was really worried this film would let me down after reading peoples opinions, & I almost gave it a miss in the cinema. I shouldn't have worried as this to me was on par with The Orphanage. It may not be the same type of film, but for the story it told, it was perfect. This is a classic horror tale about creatures evil creatures waiting in the dark, & you should not go into this expecting to see Paranormal Activity or some other one trick pony. Pans Labyrinth had elements of horror, yet it was never really scary... This film reminded me allot of Pans as it had the same fairy tale aspect going on. The script was very strong & not once did I roll my eyes at a stupid decision made by the parents or the young girl, everything flowed just right. Great horror movie & perfect for Halloween. You may not be scared but its still a creepy, dark & violent story well worth a watch! Four stars is a my rating :)


I did nothing but laugh all the way threw one of the worst films I've ever seen in my life don't waist your money

disappointed filmgoer

This was marketed as a horror film - but I can't really understand why. The monsters were cute! Agree with Thomas Noctor's evaluation - spot on - exactly like Gremlins/Cats Eye. There were some positives: lovely set of big old house with creepy dusty basement; brilliant little girl in lead role; Guy Pearce and Alan Dale reunited!

Thomas Noctor

Awful, worst movie I seen in cinema since Drag Me To Hell, its like Gremlins mixed with Cats Eye, don't be afraid to keep your money!!


you WON'T be afraid of the dark much of it looks like CBBC's scary stories series. A few 2 sec cuts we would have a 12a, so don't be afraid not to expect TOO much. In this mode, you should enjoy. In "want PANS" mode....FORGET IT! 6/10