By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” is an exceedingly scary film. If you’re looking for horror, you will find it.
But it’ll come with a heaping helping of stupidity.
Sally (Bailee Madison) is sent from California to Rhode Island to live with her father, Alex (Guy Pearce), and his girlfriend, Kim (Katie Holmes).
Alex and Kim are focused on renovating an old mansion, so Sally is left to discover the house’s nasty secret on her own.
Small gray creatures with sharp teeth pretend to be Sally’s friends, but you’ll know better because you’ll have seen what the talking rat-things did during the prologue.
Oblivious adults keep putting Sally in harm’s way, and it made me squirm in my seat. If getting scared is your thing – Whoop! – there it is.
The stupidity starts piling up when Kim goes to the library and figures out what’s happening. Apparently, a long-dead pope made a deal with these creatures, although that makes zero sense when you think about how far Italy is from Rhode Island.
Since Kim understands the threat, you’d expect her to take Sally out of the house. She probably would’ve done exactly that, if there weren’t 30 or 40 minutes left in the movie.
At one point late in the film Sally uses a heavy flashlight to kill one of her tiny tormentors. I was sitting in the theater and thinking, You mean these little monsters can be killed? Instead of fighting with flashlights, the family could’ve used pick axes or shovels.
For that matter, why not invite friends over and go after the varmints with pellet guns? Drink some beer. Put something on the grill. Play classic Lynyrd Skynyrd tunes. Make a day of it.
You’re supposed to be relieved when a horror movie is over, and I’ve seldom been happier to see the credits rolling. I hurried out of the theater, trying to get as much distance between me and this pile of talking rat droppings as possible.
I give “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” an F.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.
“If I had been there with someone else, I would’ve been fine, but I went along and I was scared.” – Kelli Karlson 106.7. She gives “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” an I for ‘incomplete” because she was too scared to stay for the whole move.