It comes down to this: I liked it. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. I merely liked it. If I had seen it back when I was 10, I probably would have adored it. It may have even ranked up there with Gremlins or Pet Sematary. You know, those movies you looooooved as a kid, the ones that scared you giddy, the ones you watched repeatedly and talked about endlessly until your parents told you to give it a rest. Then, 15 or 20 years later, you re-watch them and suddenly notice holes the size of the Mariana Trench in the plot and performances that embarrass even you. Not that any of that matters to you; you loved them then, you love them now. You’ll love them always.
The problem with Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (for me) is that last Saturday when I saw it, I wasn’t 10. I was 30. So the gaping holes in the plot and the appallingly bad acting did not escape my attention. I even laughed, a couple of times. In all fairness, I also jumped, a couple of times. And there was some decent acting (maybe it seemed decent in comparison to the garbage delivered by Guy Pearce) by the movie’s leading lady, Bailee Madison and even, at times, Katie Holmes. The creepy creatures lurking in the dark got a few scares and were eerily menacing. The true main character of this remake was the house in which it was set. A century old mansion with poor lighting and a garden big enough to get lost in and a hidden, blocked-off basement – it stole most scenes.
Overall, I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars for the average adult, and probably 4 stars for those bold youngsters who love the horror genre as I did, back when I was just a lowercase g.
Just to satisfy your curiosity (because I’m sure it’s burning relentlessly), here are a couple clips of those scary movies that have stayed with me for the past 20 years or so (good, god)…
Have a great weekend.