It’s been nearly a year since we first got a quick, shadowy glimpse at the Guillermo Del Toro-produced Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, before the project was cruelly locked in the basement, a victim of the back-and-forth sale of Miramax. Now that it’s been dusted off and given an official release date, we can finally get a better look at the remake of the 1973 TV movie that, no, is not some sort of years-late rejoinder to the Nickelodeon series Are You Afraid Of The Dark?.
Troy Nixey’s feature debut still looks like a pointedly old-fashioned haunted house story, concerning a nice family who moves into a crumbling fixer-upper, only to discover that, like most homes constructed before the 20th century, it’s full of evil things that want to kill them. Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes play the initially disbelieving parents, Bailee Madison is the young daughter who tries to warn them, and various Del Toro-stock CGI monsters round out the cast as the malevolent presence in question. Although that’s a question of interpretation; after all, they say right up front that they just want to be friends and to play with her. Seems a bit rude of her, really.