Don't Be Afraid of the Dark movie poster
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Don't Be Afraid of the Dark movie poster

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Movie Review

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After spending weeks disappointing friends by informing them that the creepy looking horror movie Don't Be Afraid of the Dark isn't actually directed by Guillermo del Toro, I finally went to go see the movie so I could be disappointed myself. Karma's  a bitch. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is one of the worst movies of the year.

Co-written but not directed by Guillermo Del Toro, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is about a little girl named Sally (Bailey Madison) who moves into the mansion where her dad (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend (Katie Holmes) live. Immediately, she begins to hear voices. The voices belong to evil little fairies that she unwittingly unleashes. Oh, and the fairies only have one desire: to eat the teeth of children. Since Sally is the only child for miles, she's kind of screwed.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, as much as it tries to be different, runs the standard course: little kid sees monsters, parents don't believe her, monsters become more aggressive, parents realize too late. And during a thunderstorm. Of course.

But it really doesn't matter. Sally is one of the dumbest kids to ever grace the silver screen. She foolishly releases the monsters. Even when she realizes they aren't so friendly, she continues to dig around in dark places. When she gets trapped in the bathroom with them, instead of just turning on the lights - which scares them away - she jumps into the bathtub.

Sally deserves to die.

The adults aren't much better. Katie Holmes' character suspects Sally is telling the truth. Great. But after Sally is attacked for the one zillionth time, she leaves her alone in her dark bedroom. After packing for her and learning the truth about the house's former owner. I mean, really?

But horror movies have, for as long as there have been horror movies, been somewhat dumb. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is just dumber.

It has its scary moments. Early on, at least. But the scariest moment is shown in the previews; the rest are fleeting and forgettable. Between the scary moments, director Troy Nixey drags the story along at a snail's pace. Where he should be building tension he instead is just being monotonous; it feels like the characters get into the same situation night after night without any progress toward a satisfying climax.

After about 45 minutes, I and my friends began to get anxious for the climax to arrive. Kill the adults. Kill the child. Kill the fairies. Who cares. Just end the goddamned movie.

When the climax does arrive, nearly an hour later, it manages to disappoint on all levels. It also makes no sense, not really. But by that point, it doesn't matter. A good climax couldn't have saved Don't Be Afraid of the Dark from being what it is: an utterly lame horror movie that wholeheartedly fails to deliver the goods.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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