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Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
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Points: 1610 (Level 3)
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Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is the typical horror movie that involves a family moving into a creepy old house that obviously has some horrible things going on inside of it. This one focuses mostly on the child. Bailee Madison plays Sally. Sally’s dad (Guy Pearce) has a new girlfriend (Katie Holmes) whom Sally is not thrilled about meeting. She has also just found out that she will be living with the two of them after being abandoned by her mother. So the three of them move into this huge old house that looks like it’s been specifically designed for horror movies. It even once belonged to a man named Lord Blackwood who was killed there; we get to see how he died at the beginning of the film.
Of course it’s Sally who immediately discovers that there is a hidden basement to this huge house. They all go down to inspect it, and Sally begins to hear voices coming from the vents. They only speak to her, never to the adults. Why is that? Well, at the beginning of the film when the original owner is killed, we find out there are little creatures living within the walls of the house… and they feed on the teeth of children. We’re not told why, but for some reason they only want children’s teeth. Maybe they’re just more pure or something. Though most children would be freaked out by voices coming from the vents, Sally is intrigued because she’s very lonely and also has some of the worst parents ever. Aside from her mother abandoning her, her father doesn’t seem to believe a thing she says and is always making other things a higher priority than her. His girlfriend means well but Sally still has her guard up with her. Plus, the little creatures insist that they want to be her friend; she has no idea of the terror they’re actually capable of. Halfway through the movie, she begins to realize it. That’s when she goes to her father who just thinks it’s all in her head and even has her see a therapist.
The good thing is that the creatures are afraid of light. It’s only in the dark that they can hurt you. This makes the title of the film rather senseless. If anything, you should be afraid of the dark. That’s when you can die. So bedtime becomes increasingly more scary for poor little Sally. She keeps a Polaroid camera by her side to flash at the creatures when they come around. That made me wonder if this film actually takes place in present day. You don’t exactly see people with Polaroids anymore. But I suppose that’s just another silly tidbit to this movie that probably could have been a little smarter than it is. Luckily, Bailee Madison is one of the best child actors around. If you’ve seen the movie Brothers you know how great of a little actress she is, and she’s only 11 years old. So she holds your attention on screen. The more established actors, Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes, are basically in supporting roles. There’s a lot of inconsistency regarding the creatures too. At times, they seemed organized and smart, like when killing an old man in the basement. Yet when they have little Sally trapped in a bathroom for 5 minutes, they seem to be a lot slower and come away completely unsuccessful. They are kind of scary looking, but they’re so small that we rarely even see any close-ups of them. This is one of those horror movies that might be interesting to watch once just to see some cool little creatures running around, but after that there’s certainly nothing memorable about it.
Recommendations: The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Se7en , 25th Hour
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