Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

In Theatres: 
Aug 26, 2011
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 39 Minutes

Every once in a while you come across an old historic house that seems a bit off. It might be the layout of the rooms or just the way the light shines through the window in the morning but something doesn’t feel right about it. For Alex and Kim, Blackwood Manor is the home of their dreams. Alex’s young daughter, however, sees things very differently. After being sent to live with her father by her mother, Sally hears strange voices coming from within the walls of the house. At first she thinks she can be friends with whoever is there but soon she finds out that there are some things in the dark you should be afraid of.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a remake of the classic 1973 made-for-TV movie by the same name. These goblin gnome type creatures have inhabited the basement for years upon years, waiting take the life of anyone who ventures into their territory. They did it with the house’s first owner, Lord Blackwood, and now they’re trying to lure Sally into their grasps. They nasty little creatures only come out in the dark though as any light hurts them.

At the beginning of the film we get to see Lord Blackwood’s decent into madness as he attempts to please the goblins that have his son by providing them with teeth. Apparently they have an appetite for little kids. This portion of the film is dark, gruesome and particularly frightening as you’re not exactly sure what these creatures are yet. Unfortunately, this is the highpoint of the film.

As we begin to discover more and more about the goblins, they start to come off as annoying pests rather than scary monsters. They’re always whispering Sally’s name or chatting among themselves. Sometimes it can be a little hair-raising but most of the time is comes across as comical and takes you out of the moment.

Then there’s the horror stereotype where everyone in the film is an idiot. Yes, that allows for there to be some potentially frightening situations but it takes away from the believability of the film. Some of the scariest films are the ones you think could actually happen. For instance, Sally manages to kill a goblin at one point. Not once does she point out the dead body to her dad or to Kim. Instead, she allows them to continue to doubt her story about the creatures. It makes absolutely no sense.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark isn’t all bad though. There are some creepy moments and the visuals of the goblins are well done. Even though they don’t act that scary, they at least look the part. I would have preferred more of the backstory regarding Blackwood and his missing son who was taken by them. Later on in the film we get to see some of his artwork of the creatures and it’s pretty disturbing. There was potential there but unfortunately, it wasn’t acted upon.

Overall, it’s fine to be afraid of the dark because there isn’t anything that frightening lurking in its shadows. There are a few jumpy moments here and there but you’re left with a very mediocre feeling, one I can assume was the same for the made-for-TV film as well.

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Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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