This review of “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” originally appeared on KTKA and KSNT, Kansas First News.
Guillermo del Toro is the guy who directed the creepy adult fairy tale “Pan’s Labyrinth” and the “Hellboy” series. He’s also the man who co-wrote and produced “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” a new remake of a 1973 made-for-TV movie of the same name.
“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” is a haunted house film, but it’s not a ghost story. Instead, mysterious little creatures plague Guy Pearce and his girlfriend Katie Holmes, who are restoring an old house with a secret past. del Toro added a new character to this remake, and like “Pan’s Labyrinth,” the whole movie is told through the point of view of a young girl—Pearce’s daughter—played with welcome maturity by Bailee Madison.
Del Toro rounded out and deepened the backstory from the original, but it’s still a pretty simple horror movie. First-time director Troy Nixey takes his time with the story, and gets the spooky atmosphere just right—even if he does give away too much of the creatures too soon.
While it may not be as scary for adults, I can’t imagine what it will be like for younger viewers. “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” is like a checklist of childhood fears and nightmares come to life.