Don't be Afraid of the Dark (2011)
Director: Troy Nixey
Troubled little girl (Madison) goes to live with her pops (Pierce) and his new squeeze (Holmes) in a big mansion that they are renovating. Problem is; there are little evil buggers in the basement; they're afraid of the light and they’re (in a Dr. Loomis drawl) Eviiiiiiiillllll! Do the math!
DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (a remake of the 1973 TV Movie of the same name) was one of my most anticipated horror flicks of the year. Why? Well it had King shit Guillermo del Toro behind it (he produced and co wrote the screenplay with Matthew Robbins), came off as one of them Grimm fairy tales type spiel and personally; I dig on genre films that use things that go bump in the night and subtlety to evoke its frights. I don’t feel we get enough of them. Torture, gore fest or rape flicks…yeah…we get them in spades, but low key and old school type of fear parties axed on suspense; not enough for my liking. So you can imagine my facial expression when I came out of that theater totally let down by this one.
It’s really too bad; cause DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK had all of the required elements to be a hit. It sported a gnarly initial premise, gorgeous macabre atheistic, a key location that worked (The creepy Victorian-ish mansion looked astounding and fit the Gothic bill) tight camera work, stellar production designs (loved that mural) and fear ploys (by comic artist turned director Troy Nixey) that were superior to the norm. I really dug how they held back on showing us the beasties for a while there, it was working wonders on me, too bad it all went to shit once they came out of the box, but more on that later. On top of that; the creatures (shades of the buggers in THE GATE) were well designed and their CG execution on the ball and there was quite the cast at play here! Guy Pierce was genuine as the “too busy with work to give a hoot” father, Katie “somebody feed her something already” Holmes was credible and likable in her role, Jack Thompson shined in a key supporting part while young Bailee Madison was very convincing as the little girl with personal issues and now monster issues.
So what went wrong? The flick asked me to be an utter imbecile to go along with
its STUPID chain of events and I wouldn’t have it; that’s what. The film started
losing me when it had its child lead act in a complete opposite manner as to how
a real kid would respond to potential monsters in the house. Dumb moves to serve
the plot show up often in horror films but for some reason it was worse because
it was a kid; no way a child would go and venture in a dark basement by herself,
or take a bath solo when knowing that violent creatures are around…no f*cking way! The flick spat in my eye some more; when one grisly event was called an “accident” by the movie and its characters to then be brushed under the carpet to continue on its “suspension of disbelief heavy" path. An accident? You expect me to believe that everybody in that house didn’t clue in that what went down was far from a mishap?! Are you f*cking stupid? Do you think I am f*cking stupid? The answer is YES on both counts.
Sadly that occurrence opened the flood gates as this sucka continued with its frustrating knack of making its child lead do the opposite of what she’s supposed to be doing and the adult characters just became frustratingly denser every second. Result? I as an audience member, not only started to hate the characters, but I was also taken out of the story, because hey, I didn’t believe in it anymore. Too much cheating to force the plot in the direction it had to go.
One thing that was odd: the narrative kept setting itself up with opportunities
to get the grown ups into the mix and to tell its tale in a rational and credible fashion… but alas,
it would duck going with it when it had the chance, preferring to continue on its three blind mice trek. So by the time all hell broke loose, I just didn’t care anymore. The inane chain of events and the character choices/reactions
murdered my involvement and my attachment to the whole she-bang. What was initial excitement became moans, groans and laughter… yes as the final
act kicked in, I was laughing AT the movie. Not good. So as the end credits rolled, I was like “What the f*ck?” I couldn’t believe it blew.
We get some blood, stabbings, cuts… nothing major. I have no idea why this movie is Rated R. It’s a PG 13 to me!
T & A
Naked, tiny monsters. Masturbate away!
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark = My numero uno cinematic let-down of the year. Although the initial premise had promise, the cast was tight, the effects money and the direction able; the flick asked me to suspend disbelief to a ludicrous degree, its grown ups so thick, it was maddening and the thing was filled with so many dumb moves to serve the plot that I overdosed on them. I wound up scoffing at the flick for treating me like an idiot (which I am BTW, but that is besides the point) and by the time the last block kicked in, I was laughing at the movie and just didn't care anymore... I wanted it to end. Hey that's just me. Maybe if you're able to get past all of its shortcomings you'll be able to have a good time; I obviously couldn't wing it. I’m a huge del Toro fan…dude is a genius but here, no dice. I guess everybody’s gotta put out a stinker now and again…
The flick got an R from them morons at the MPAA for... "pervasive scariness". Pussies...
The flick was shot in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
In the original Sally Farnham was a grown woman. Here she is a child.