Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (a movie review)

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A Del Toro movie always catches my attention! Plus I adore films that mix horror/thriller with folklore and fairy tales. Onward to the summary!

Quick Summary: A quiet and reclusive young girl names Sally flies to Rhode Island to be with her father and his new girlfriend. Instead of living in his home, the three temporarily settle into a 19th century home that Alex (father) and Kim (girlfriend) have been restoring. Upset with the move and her fathers new relationship, Sally spends her time drawing and exploring. She discovers a hidden room beneath the home that had been sealed away since the previous owner disappeared many years before. Sally now hears strange voices telling her they want to be her friend, but there is something sinister about them. With the adults busy on the house, Sally must try and convince them of her new discovery and face her fears in the dark.

I wouldn’t peg this film as scary but more along the lines of creepy, which is still a good place to be. Sally is the main focus for most of the movie, and the young lady Baliee Madison does a god job of portraying and interesting kid. Sally is a tough little cookie, venturing into the dark and unknown because of curiosity. However, you are easily reminded that she is still a child when she becomes frightened and calls out for her father. She is the most believable character in the whole movie. You hold your breath when she looks under the bed, feel sympathy when her father ignores her woes, and it makes one wonder what they would have done as 10 year olds.

The father in this story is a little clichéd in my opinion. He has been estranged from his daughter so he doesn’t quite know how to connect with her nor comfort her at times. When she brings about her concerns he brushes her off, his business ventures more important, choosing curt words and medication instead. I felt little sympathy for him when things begin to go downhill, he was acting as an irresponsible and too distant parent not putting his kids needs first. Really, a hotel room could have solved a lot of problems. In a way he is good for tension and plot pushing.

Kim, the girlfriend, is put in a difficult spot. She loves Alex, and is seen as a stranger to Sally, but she wants to befriend the girl. She seems to have more paternal instincts and reactions then Alex through most of the film. I found her character a little boring, but that may be all me due to the fact that Katie Holmes isn’t a favored actress of mine. The struggle of letting Alex parent vs taking matters into her own hands makes for interesting story line plus helps shed light on the situation. She is one of the few who actually listen to Sally when she speaks.

The CGI in the movie seemed…a little overdone? There was just something about it that I didn’t quite like though I can’t place my finger on it. They were interesting and creepy looking, yet I felt they did a better mood setting and tension when it was a hear and not see thing. There actual concept though I enjoyed. (I am purposely not sharing too many details on it so to not give anything away.)

Overall I had a fun time watching this, getting the creeps, guessing what would happen next, and enjoying the dark folklore portrayed.

7.5\10

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