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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: May 10: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark


May 10: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

A young girl sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend discovers creatures in her new home who want to claim her as one of their own.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is a pretty big disappointment. With Guillermo del Toro producing, a somewhat unique story, and one incredible house/mansion/estate as its setting, you'd think it would be absolutely terrifying. It's not. At all. It's actually pretty laughable at times and every scare is either the gimmicky pop-out or something else that's very predictable. A film that looked to be the answer to a rather dull past couple of years in the horror genre turns out to be no help at all. I really tried hard to enjoy it, but I just could not forgive its many flaws.

I'll take it!... 
And not utilize it's terrifying everything in the HORROR movie we're making.

Don't Be Afraid's plot starts off with a bang and has a terrific opening. A man is cowering in his basement, clearly afraid and distraught. He calls down his housekeeper for help and immediately attacks her with a hammer, then continues to pull out her teeth with it. He throws them in the furnace as a "tribute" to a hidden creature(s) and demands he gets his son back. He's knocked out and then dragged down the furnace into God knows what. Fade to black- opening credits. Yeah, badass beginning isn't it? Well everything goes downhill from there. Jump ahead to present day, and a little girl named Sally moves into the mansion with her daddy (Guy Pearce) and Katie Holmes (Herself). Soon after arriving, she encounters these little mandingos and, of course, is curious about what they are. But, everything goes to shit and she's continually attacked. Apparently the creatures collect the teeth of children and then kidnap them for their own little world or whatever. That part's never fully explained, we just assume that baby-snatching is regular work for a little monster, similar to being cast in a Tinkerbell movie or moonlighting as a Furby. 

Nope, Furbies are creepier. 

Sally's dad doesn't believe any of her stories and can't even fathom the idea of LOL face critters existing in the first place. By the time he comes around and believes his only daughter is actually in danger, we really don't care what happens to anyone. Sally can't stop looking in the furnaces for the creatures, her dad can't stop focusing on his work and COMPLETELY ignoring her, and Katie Holmes is off trying to be a mom or something. The characters are just too stupid to root for and the creatures are too lame to stand beside. Because there is no "side" to be excited about, you just want the entire movie to end. 

See the resemblance?

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is a failure in my opinion. With such a big name in horror sitting in the producer's chair, an incredible setting, and a decent cast, it has no excuse for being as bad as it is. The movie is more frustrating than anything and ends up being rather hard to get through. It tests your patience, insults your intelligence, and is certainly not worth 99 minutes of your time. Skip it.

The Good:
a beautiful, old, creepy house that could be the setting to a dozen different horror movies
The Bad:
not utilizing the already terrifing house and instead coming up with a very mundane plot and incredibly stupid characters
The Ugly:
not giving a damn about what happens to anyone because you want the whole thing to end

Overall: 4.0/10


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