DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK – The Doc’s Verdict – short review

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Blackwood Manor many many years ago   A trip wire makes a maid fall down some stairs into the basement.   Lord Blackwood, seemingly driven by whispering voices, removes the poor woman’s teeth and offers them to some unseen creatures who live somewhere beyond the fireplace in return for his son.  The monsters pull him into the fireplace.  Present Day – young Alice is sent to live with her estranged father Alex and his girlfriend Kim at their new home.  The previous owner of the home was a famous painter who mysteriously disappeared.   As the couple begin work on renovating the place,  Alice starts to hear whispering voices, and discovers the basement where the fireplace has been bolted shut.  The voices ask her to open it………….


Even though we already have two fine reviews of this remake of the 1973 TV movie, I feel I must say a few words defending it!  This is a highly enjoyable, old-fashioned haunted house chiller which should entertain as long as you don’t expect too much.  Guillermo Del Toro and his co-writer Matthew Robbins relocate the story in a much more Gothic environment, with Oliver Stapleton’s cinematography making the most of one of the most forbidden houses in horror movies in a while, and they nicely build in a few more details while still leaving much that is unexplained or ambiguous.  They give the tale a slightly nastier edge with the use of a young girl being the one who sees the goblins, in the process giving us the scariest ‘thing in a bad’ scene since The Grudge.  Sadly though, it does fall down on its monsters, and I couldn’t stop wandering how is it that three midgets in suits lumbering around oversized sets are far more frightening then loads of fast moving CGI creatures.  They show these Chihuahua/Gollum crosses far too much.  Recreations of some of the earlier films’ bits fall sadly short, and characters behave like idiots, though I wouldn’t call that a big deal, snce characters in horror movies often behave like idiots!   Nonetheless, aided immensely by a wonderfully emphatic score from Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, this is definitely one of the better horror remakes of late and certainly justify its existence.  It may not frighten most of the time, but it has the gently chilling and strangely reassuring feel of a Victorian ghost story, and also boasts one of the best child performances I’ve seen in ages in Bailee Madison’s Alice, really convincingly conveying fear and despair.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

Read Matt Wavish’s review here

Read Ross Hughes’s review here

And read my review of the original movie here

[pt-filmtitle]Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2011)[/pt-filmtitle]

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About Dr Lenera 1985 Articles
I'm a huge film fan and will watch pretty much any type of film, from Martial Arts to Westerns, from Romances [though I don't really like Romcoms!]] to Historical Epics. Though I most certainly 'have a life', I tend to go to the cinema twice a week! However,ever since I was a kid, sneaking downstairs when my parents had gone to bed to watch old Universal and Hammer horror movies, I've always been especially fascinated by horror, and though I enjoy all types of horror films, those Golden Oldies with people like Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee probably remain my favourites. That's not to say I don't enjoy a bit of blood and gore every now and again though, and am also a huge fan of Italian horror, I just love the style.

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