Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark – Film Review

(Written for Boolean Flix)

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is among a majority of films released every year after the Post-Summer season. As cinema figures decline between the months of August to November, and even sometimes until December, this latest horror in a tradition of Hollywood remakes is taken from the 1973 TV original.

Produced by Hellboy’s Guillermo del Toro and directed by comic-book artist Troy Nixley, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is almost expected to be poor from the outset, mirroring the failures of recent horror remakes A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween.

Starring Bailee Madison, Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce,this remake of the 1973 original begins with young girl, Sally Hirst (Madson), being sent to live with her father Alex (Pearce) and his girlfriend Kim (Holmes) at Blackwood Manor, a 19th century mansion with a troubled history.

Sally is haunted by voices emanating from the sealed up basement that plead for her to set them free and, before long, her curiosity starts to consume her. Descending into the depths of the house, she releases a group of demonic monsters that want Sally as one of their own. As Sally struggles to save her family from the ancient creatures, she attempts to escape the hellish nightmare, before she herself is at the mercy of the mansion’s darkest secret.

Set in a typical clichéd manor house, ‘haunted’ by evil spirits, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is not in the slightest bit original. The word remake in cinema lacks originality, and is always an easy way for film makers to create a film, yet it seems this latest trend in remakes have swiftly taken a turn for the worse, with the less known originals left to adapt for modern cinema.

Released during the month of Halloween, Nixley’s opportunity to scare audiences has backfired, leaving yet another gap in the horror franchise for the Halloween season. After seven years of Saw ringing in the holiday, it’s about time something truly terrifying gets to do the honour. Many would suggest Paranormal Activity 3 will take this award, yet the concept has been seen in the previous two pictures, and using children to help advance the scare factor in the latest outing surely won’t succeed, if the use of a child protagonist in Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark failed to impress audiences. 

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, will pass through cinemas almost unrecognised over the next few weeks, before disappearing from our screens months ahead of its DVD release later next year. Fans of the original TV film may twitch at the sight of a Hollywood remake, however will only be disappointed as the credits role.

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