Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (Troy Nixey, 2010)

Yep, 2010 – not sure why it’s only been released now in late 2011 – it’s often supposed to be the sign of a poor film but there’s nothing particularly wrong with this – but more of that later.

So, Bailee Madison plays Sally, a young girl packed off by her mother to stay with separated husband Alex (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) in the old house they are renovating to sell. Sally hears voices of ‘little people’ who tell her they want to be her friend but they quickly show themselves to be nasty little bastards, no surprise to us since we’ve seen, in the particularly vicious opening sequence, just how horrible they can be.

Of course, when Sally says anything about the house’s oddities, nobody believes her, although evidence starts to mount. This has Guillermo del Toro’s name on the opening credits and a few of the exterior shots along with the fairyland meets reality idea bear a passing resemblance to Pan’s Labyrinth but it doesn’t have that same ‘magical’ feeling to it, nor is it half as good. Still, to this non-horror expert, it was pretty scary much of the time and didn’t drag or irritate though, as even I could recognise several well-worn tropes being rehearsed, viewers better versed in horror might have found it over-familiar. Even the critters themselves reminded me of several Terry Pratchett ideas mashed up together (tooth fairy magic being powerful and dark, scary elves).

So, pretty good for someone like me but probably not for the horror aficionados, perhaps why it didn’t get a timely release.


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