If you’re familiar with Del Torro’s work, you will easily identify with the movie’s visuals and setting. A dark-haired girl wanders around the family’s creepy and mysterious estate. She discovers what’s hidden in its dark corners, setting the stage for the horrors that will follow.
However, whatever the movie has built in the beginning is zapped by stereotypical horror contrivances. The father and his girlfriend are ridiculously oblivious and stupid. The servants are either useless or go MIA. The lead is a convenient pill-popping emo kid who can’t seem to decide whether she will fight or just cry her heart out.
Guy Pearce is dull and while Katie Holmes is tolerable, she’s still uninteresting. Bailee Madison is better than adults. But the audience still has no character worth investing in.
The creatures are scary but lose their appeal through the course of the movie. They’re more like smart pests with Dolby enhanced whispers. When the movie ends, it just proves how much of a heartless douche the father is.
You can see the fine touches of Guillermo Del Toro in this movie. But that isn’t enough to save Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark from being a handsomely presented but derivative scare.
Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark
Guillermo Del Toro can't save Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark, a derivative haunted-house story with negligible characters and standard-issue scares.