"Sacrifice Stops Evil"
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK is a remake of a 1973 TV horror movie. Though it has a happy ending of sorts and tries to root most of its scares in the viewer’s imagination rather than through overt bloodletting, it is still very intense and scary, so strong caution is advised.
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.
(B, C, OO, LL, VVV, S, A, DD, M) Light moral worldview with a redemptive element of sacrifice at the end but the evil supernatural creatures survive in the end, cackling that they will live and wait for the next potential child they can kill so they can feed on their teeth, but the creatures are never really explained; about 10 or 11 obscenities and profanities; very scary violence depicted and implied for scary effects involves evil supernatural creatures seek to kill children for their teeth, they also attack several adults who try to intervene on behalf of the main girl and another child mentioned in the movie’s prologue, creatures trip a housemaid down a concrete staircase and she lands hard on a stone floor that injures her, deranged old employer threatens housemaid and feels compelled to kill her for her teeth in order to save his own young son whom he hears screaming for help down a long tunnel because of creatures, it’s then implied that he smashes her teeth with a hammer as her screams are heard. It is implied that the man takes a hammer and smashes her teeth out, man passes her teeth to the creatures but they drag him down to a pit anyway, but the camera cuts away as he starts to swing the hammer down, leaving the audience to hear her scream and then see the old man passing a plate of her teeth to the creatures, mass numbers of the creatures swarm a girl’s bedroom and later a bathtub in which she is bathing and hiding, man’s hand slashed with a sharp object, man stabbed, creatures swarm girl’s bed as she hides under covers and screams for help, creatures chase girl and drag her by rope until she’s saved; girl’s father lives with his girlfriend and girl covers her head with pillow as she hears the two laugh and kiss in bed; no nudity; alcohol use at party as guests toast and briefly drink alcohol at a dinner; no smoking but little girl takes Adderall for depression and attention deficit disorder, which disturbs her father’s girlfriend; and, people initially accuse 10-year-old of destroying the property that evil creatures are actually ruining, girl is sometimes disrespectful to her father and his girlfriend and father is emotionally distant from daughter, but father and daughter get closer in the end.
In DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, a mother ships her 10-year-old daughter, Sally, to live with her emotionally distant father, Alex, and his girlfriend, Kim, at an old mansion he’s renovating in Rhode Island. Sally takes a prescription drug for depression and attention deficit disorder. She discovers a secret staircase leading down to a hidden basement where seemingly hundreds of horrific rodent-like monsters inexplicably live, surviving by eating people’s teeth. Sally starts to see the creatures, but her father doesn’t believe her. So, Sally 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 to save Sally?
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.