DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK
Sacrifice Stops Evil
Release Date: August 26, 2011
Starring: ** Sacrifice Stops Evil **
Audience: Older teens and adults
Runtime: 99 minutes
Director: Troy Nixey
Executive Producer: William Horberg, Steven Jones,
Producer: Mark Johnson, Guillermo del
Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Matthew
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The story follows a little girl named Sally (Bailee Madison), who despite being about five or six years old, is shipped off from her mother in Los Angeles to live with her emotionally distant father Alex (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) at an old mansion he’s renovating in Rhode Island. Sally is an obviously depressed child, popping prescription Adderalls, which is also used for alleged attention deficit. Sally soon discovers a secret staircase on the property. The staircase leads down to a hidden basement where seemingly hundreds if not thousands of horrific rodent-like monsters inexplicably live, surviving by eating the teeth of children.
This fact is obviously a twist on the childhood myth of the tooth fairy. The movie also makes extensive use of its impressive sets to create an atmosphere of fear and doom around nearly every corner. This means the little girl has plenty of reason to be afraid of the dark house and its many creepy sounds and shadows.
Sally starts to actually see the creatures that want to kidnap and kill her, but her father doesn’t believe her because of her psychological problems. Thus, Sally ultimately winds up having to rely on his girlfriend, Kim, whom Sally barely knows and resents for being a new mother figure. How far will Kim have to go in order to save Sally?
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK provides many scares, which is its main reason for being. Though much of the actual violence occurs off screen, it is still very intense and scary. The foul language is almost, but not quite, minimal. Also, the little girl is estranged from her father, but [SPOILER ALERTS] the girlfriend’s sacrifice for the girl brings father and daughter closer together. The creatures in DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK are clearly evil, but the end shows they survive, ready to attack another child. Whether this is a sadly cheap setup for a sequel or an endorsement of evil may be up to the viewer, but it appears that the movie ultimately places family and sacrifice above anything else.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK is a scary twist on the tooth fairy. The movie makes extensive use of impressive sets to create an atmosphere of doom lurking around nearly every corner. Though much of the actual violence occurs off screen, it’s still very intense and scary. The foul language is almost minimal. DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK shows good battling evil and extols family and sacrifice, but its scares deserve extreme caution.