Troy Nixey (Latchkeys Lament)
Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy)
Katie Holmes (Mad Money)
Guy Pearce (The Road)
Bailee Madison (Just Go With It)
When I was a little girl I used to be afraid of the dark. Maybe not so much the dark but whatever could be lurking in it. I wasn’t afraid of a plain ol’ murderer or the average robber. Unfortunately I had a vivid imagination and had seen way too many scary movies. Their were almost endless possibilities of what could be dwelling where I couldn’t see. There could be ghosts of hacked up persons that used live to in my room or maybe a hockey mask wearing, machete wielding man. What about that clown with the sharp teeth that lives in the drain? Then their was the big one, monsters. Monsters, that in my mind, looked worse and more terrifying than reality would ever produce. Luckily the fear has subsided. Not because I’m a big kid now but because I have seen Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. I don’t think the makers of the film had any idea how ironic the name of this movie is. It’s basically making a mockery of the film. Maybe it’s a disclaimer. So at the end they can be like “hey we told you not to be afraid.”
Now not only am I not afraid of the dark I’m actually slightly amused with it. OUCH.
Come on we have seen this one so many times before but it never gets old, for screenwriters that is. Kid sees ghost and/or monster and parents don’t believe him or her, usually this all goes on in a new house. Don’t be Afraid of the Dark wastes no time marching right into the familiar routine. Young depressed Sally is sent to live with her father for reasons undisclosed. During her plane ride she draws pictures of black holes that have no relevance to the movie. Her hair is obviously dyed black to make the audience aware that she’s creepy or something. Sally is definitely not thrilled at all about this move to live with workaholic dad Alex and “younger” girlfriend Kim played by Katie Holmes. “younger” was in quotation marks because she doesn’t look younger than him at all but the movie insists Alex is practically dating a teenager. Young Sally is not a teen yet, in fact she’s more of a tween but she’s already got that teenage I hate the world thing down pat. The situation would be awkward for any youngin’; living with an estranged papa and his almost adolescent girlfriend. To top things off they all just moved into a very old , very big mansion that they are renovating. Alex is a architect with his heart set on being on the cover of Architectural Digest and Kim is an interior designer. Together they plan on sprucing the old place up a bit. As suspected the house has a bit of History to it. Emerson Blackwood , a famous painter that disappeared along with his young son lived there some decades or maybe centuries ago, (timeline never given). We do know what happened to him. He was pulled down a small furnace in the first act, while offering teeth to the voices down the shaft. Yes, his teeth.
Thank god for curious little Sally for discovering a secret door one day while she explores the huge gardening area. Although the gardener who is familiar with the houses history tries to tell Sally's parents to leave it alone saying how dangerous the area is for children , they find out the door leads to the basement in their house that no one had known existed. OMG they were like SUPER excited.
The basement has no lights. Its big and empty except for the small furnace in the corner that seems to draw Sallys attention.
When she hears voices she elated, someone to talk to. They beckon her with lines like.
“Sally it’s so nice down here come and play”
“Set us free so we can be friends.”
Sally unlocks the furnace setting free an evil that’s been trapped for……..years? A decade? Who knows …..but its definitely been a while.
The monsters waste no time showing their true colors to the poor stupid girl. While Kim and Alex roam the city for paint supplies and window coverings Sally is left in the care of the house maid, Mrs. Underhill. She's a dear old maid that makes KILLER apple pie. YUM!
The movie unravels at a rapid speed when we meet the monsters. There are about a dozen or so of them. They live and scurry about in the dark and the shadows probably because if you really seen what they looked like their wouldn’t be much to be afraid of. They like playing hide and seek, running under her covers, using her teddy bear to scare her and they even play tricks on the girl. Is this a scary movie or a rip off Dennis the Menace? Sally is even framed by the monsters when they shred up one of Kim's shirts. This is so stupid. But not anymore stupid than the monsters themselves. They're tiny little critters the size of Barbie dolls that look like teeny tiny hunch old back men. They aren’t harmful on their own so they have to grab knives and weapons to threaten people with and for some reason they eat teeth. Really? Teeth? How can they even remove the teeth from her mouth?
Lets go straight to the climax of the film. The monsters are revealed to the parents, yet they stay in the house for a few more hours to let Sally rest. When they finally decide to leave the Teeth hit the fan. Of course Kim and Alex succumb to the beasts. They both get knocked unconscious in different rooms but both come to in time to save Sally. Sadly the stunning Katie Holmes is dragged down the furnace.
The concept for this movie shoulda been thrown down the damn furnace. The movie ended with me feeling happy that I now had nothing to be afraid of at night, but sad that movies like these keep getting made for the sake of being made. The makers of Don’t be Afraid of the Dark hoped they were breaking new ground by introducing tiny monsters that want to eat your teeth but they personified why the horror genre fails to deliver a decent scare, the elements of surprise and fear and originality. Sadly the only good thing about this movie was sweet Mrs. Underhill and her delicious pie.