Monday, 10 October 2011

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark - review

"Guillermo Del Toro presents", a tag that has presided over such quality films as The Orphanage and Julia's Eyes, so Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark has a lot to live up to.
Somewhat ironically, I think it is far to say that I wasn't afraid of DBAOTD, but I was still reasonably entertained by it.
After an effectively creepy opening sequence (teeth + chisel + sound fx = squirm), the film follows your standard horror movie template.
8 year-old Sally (Bailee Madison) comes to live with her dad Alex (Guy Pearce), an architect who has sunk his life savings into renovating a creepy old house, with the help of his new girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes), who Sally takes an instant dislike to.  One day Sally finds a secret basement in the house with a sealed up shaft, which of course she opens after being persuaded to by the voices inside who want to be her "friends".  She is then terrorised by creepy little imps but her father thinks it is all in her head until Kim does a bit of digging into the history of the house and its previous owners.
Whilst you can see Del Toro's fingerprints all over the film, the final product relies far too much on the tired, overused horror cliches (loud music to signify a big jump, poor decision making, "oh it's only the old groundskeeper", etc).  In fact the biggest shock for UK cinemagoers of a certain age will come near the end of the film when Mike and Jim from Neightbours share the screen together for the first time in 20+ years!
Sitting watching this in the cinema, I couldn't help but think that all of it could have been avoided if the protaganists simply followed the instructions laid out in Edgar Wright's terrific trailer for "Don't"...
3 stars

1 comment:

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