Friday, 26 August 2011



Talking afterwards to the crowds inside and outside, the word repeatedly used was "solid". But not solid in a bad way, as in large, lumpy, slow-moving, perhaps you should see a doctor. Solid in a good way: well crafted, controlled, intelligent, sturdy. Which it is. It's a well made, traditional, old-fashioned horror film with some nicely timed jump moments in it. Yes, you should be afraid of the dark.

The plot of Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark is a simple one. A couple (Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce) and his daughter by his unseen and frankly unhinged sounding ex movie into the insanely large and sprawling old Blackwood mansion. But deep in the cellar, indeed below the cellar, something lurks. Something that allegedly abducted the Blackwood heir, something with a taste for blood and childrens' teeth - aggressive and genuinely scary gribbley monsters which young Sally has inadvertently let loose in the house, and the old faerie curse stipulates they have to kill every time they are released....

This new version not only harks back to the American TV Movie Of The Week style - no swearing, no nudity, little in the way of gore and violence - where the original Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark came from, but bears the stamp of its producer and co-writer Guillermo Del Toro. In particular there's a lot of Pan's Labyrinth in there, with a lonely young girl isolated from her family and the only one who sees the monsters, and while it isn't anywhere near as great as Pan's, it's still thoroughly enjoyable and the CGI creature effects are perfectly well done. It's certainly not a great film, but it's entertaining and good scary fun without being violently graphic. (Nice to see old Neighbours Guy Pearce and Alan Dale back together for a few scenes as well.) Worth a watch.


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