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“Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark"-(2011) - {Blu-ray}
Wayne Klein
Studio: Sony
Release Date:
January 3, 2012
Special Features:

See Below


A remake of a 1973 TV movie "Don't Be Afraid of The Dark" is an atmospheric thriller that doesn't quite deliver on the its promise but still manages to be entertaining even if it is a tad contrived. Co-writers Guillermo Del Toro and Matthew Robbins use the original TV movie as the primary basis for this new version (although uncredited the 1973 script written by Nigel McKeand was reportedly based on H. P. Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls")altering the dynamic of the original script which didn't use a child as the main focus of the TV movie.***

Co-producer Guillermo Del Toro ("Hellboy", "Chronos", "Pan's Labyrinth")and co-writer Matthew Robbins ("Dragonslayer", "*batteries not included")along with first time director Troy Nixey create an impressive looking movie with some strong performances particularly from Baliee Madison. The main problem with "Don't Be Afriad of the Dark" is that despite the impressive production design, acting talent and moody photography "Don't Be Afraid of The Dark" isn't very scary.***

Sally (Madison) is a little girl who feels lost as she's shuffled off to live with her father Alex (Guy Pearce)and Alex's girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) who specialize in renovating older, dilapited mansions. Sally discovers there are creatures living in the Blackwood home that abduct children.***

Unfortunately Pearce isn't given much to work with as Alex who primarily comes across as a twit and Katie Holmes character of Kim although written a bit more sympathetically doesn't have much depth either.***

Image & Sound:

The Blu-ray looks marvelous with a nicely detailed, moody presentation of the film. Skin tones are solid thorughout. Blacks are solid throughout and given that this is such a dark, moody looking film that's a good thing.***

Audio is very active particularly during the scenes where the little monsters attack with a nice DTS 5.1 lossless presentation.***

Special Features:

The special features include a featurette where Del Toro, Nixey and others discuss the challenges of adapting the original TV movie, altering the main focus to a child and then trying to create a thriller where the child isn't in more danger from the creatures.***

We also get a gallery of concept art but, given some of the commentary tracks that Del Toro has done in the past, I'm really surprised that Del Toro and director Nixey don't give us a commentary track explaining the often flawed creative decisions the trio of Del Toro, Robbins and Nixey made relating to their approach to the film. If they had stayed with the approach of the original TV movie of making an adult the focus of the film and putting the main characters in peril more often.

Final Words:

"Don't Be Afraid of The Dark" MIGHT have lived up to its potential. As it is the film is a handsome looking, atmospheric thriller that's a victory of style over content.*** If you must see it, rent it first to make sure it will appeal to you.***


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