Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)

dont be afraid of the dark poster 2010 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Bailie Madison does a nice job as a kid actor

Gives too much story to the little demons, a mess of an ending

Movie Info

Movie Name: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Studio: Miramax Films

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  November 6, 2010 (Virginia Film Festival)/August 26, 2011

MPAA Rating: R

dont be afraid of the dark 2010 demons

We just want your freaking teeth (I guess).

Sally Hurst (Bailee Madison) is being forced to live with her father Alex (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend Kim Raphael (Katie Holmes) as they renovate an old, country home called Blackwood Manor.  When Sally discovers a hidden basement, she unlocks a chimney that unleashes something dark.  The creatures in the home want Sally, and they’ll stop at nothing to get her.  Sally knows the creatures are there, but will anyone believe her?

Directed by Troy Nixey, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a remake of the made-for-TV movie from 1973.  The film was a modest success and received average to positive review.

dont be afraid of the dark sally kim bailee madison katie holmes 2010

Kim…maybe we could think out a better plan than this…I realize we’re in crunch time but seriously

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark was one of the more critically acclaimed TV horror films.  The movie inspired producer Guillermo del Toro who helped get this remake completed.  While the original Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark sparked fear and memorable sequences, this version of the film is lacking.

The first movie is a rather simplistic plot.  A woman inherits a house, unleashes demons, and is killed by them.  This film tries to create a more rounded film with a plot involving the demons, the lost childhood of Sally, and the connection between Sally and Kim being established…while building more plot, it loses the simplicity of the original and makes the flaws of the original even more apparent…leading to an ending that is supposed to be touching but just comes off as unnecessary in the actions of the character.

Dark-haired Bailee Madison really seems to channel Heather O’Rourke of the Poltergeist series in this film.  She’s somber and stoic until the horror really starts.  Katie Holmes steps into a more adult role as the stand-in mother for Sally who makes the ultimate sacrifice (which seems a bit unnecessary…she could have figured out a better way of dealing with the rat creatures).  Guy Pierce just feels like he’s kind of along for the ride in the movie.

dont be afraid of the dark bathroom scene demons 2010

I hate it when pervy demons watch me take a bath…

One of the biggest flaws of the movie is the design of the creatures.  The original creatures were very humanoid and that made it even scarier (despite somewhat goofy masks).  Here, the creatures are like vermin and not very human-like.  I’ve seen movies with rats and preferred a more human like creature…no matter how much they roar and scream.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark isn’t very frightening.  It is hard to see why it is R-Rated when it feels like a pre-teen horror film.  The movie could have been really terrifying if they had stuck to the formula of the original film and fixed problems with the low budget production of the original movie.  Instead, you get an average horror film with creatures that could haven much scarier…a real disappointment.

Related Links:

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (1973)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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