FrightFest 2011: Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark Reaction

Things go bump in the night in FF opening movie

While this is the feature debut of Troy Nixey, GDT's influence is evident from the first, as youngster Madison, unhappy with her father’s new choice of partner, becomes increasingly private, discovers a hidden lair where monsters dwell and takes some gorgeously-shot ambles through the magic gardens of the estate.

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It’s a shame then that it’s been given an R rating (in the states – yet to be rated over here), partly due to occasional moments of gruesomeness and a sense of nastiness that’s going to seriously screw up little ones.

As an adult horror it has some successful scares and a pervasive sense of unease but it relies too heavily on loud noises, jumps and jolts. And while Madison is feisty if a bit American cutesie, Pearce and Holmes had too little to do and not enough depth, left with seen-it-all-before characterisation despite sterling efforts.

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark is a lyrical, stunning-looking film, that’s entertaining, with a sense of fun, a rich mythology and a few great moments but essentially it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. Grown ups won’t be afraid of the dark – this is more like del Toro light.