Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (2011) is directed by Troy Nixey and written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins. The film is an adaptation of Nigel McKeand’s television drama of 1973.
The story follows a young Sally (Bailee Madison), who after being sent by her mother to stay with her father Alex (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes), wanders amid the gardens of Blackwood Manor Estate and discovers a hidden basement. Out of curiosity Sally explores the newly found hidden compartment and opens a sealed ashpit in the basement. Sally discovers a human tooth in the ashpit and starts hearing voices whispering her name through the walls. Eventually, she is attacked by gremlin-like monsters that emerge from the basement and skirting of the mansion’s walls. Alex and Kim do not believe Sally when she tells them about the voices and monsters lurking about the mansion. And a psychologist concludes that Sally feels rejected and unloved by her parents and it is those feelings that trigger the ‘fantastic episodes’ she imagines and describes.
The monsters are much more frightening before we actually get to see them, once we see them they (the monsters) and the film on the whole is really not that scary anymore. The film does however, work well on merit of its aesthetic composure, as the setting and sound effectively portray eeriness and the film’s intention to horrify. The filmic construction in terms of its carefully crafted use of under –lighting, low-key lighting, 19th century old mansion with its surrounding gardens and forest-like tall trees, as well as, the continual manipulation of the pitch and timbre of sound make up (for the most part) the standard formulaic mechanics of the horror genre.
The film receives a mediocre 3 star rating.
– Shanawaaz Sonday