September 21, 2011
"Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" was based on a 1973 TV movie of the same title and basically the same plot. I took time to watch a copy of the original film before I watched this remake. I am not really sure that was a good idea, but I thought it was when I did it. The structure of the story is the same. An self- and career-absorbed architect named Alex gets a very old house and tries to renovate it. A blocked-up furnace and vent in the basement is disturbed which causes mysterious creatures to torment the household. From hence, arises the horror that the title speaks of.
The major difference is that in the original movie and its remake is the central tormented character named Sally. In the original, Sally was the architect's stay-at-home wife (played by Kim Darby). In the remake, Sally is the architect's young rebellious daughter (Bailee Madison) from a broken marriage. She makes life difficult for the architect (Guy Pierce) and his new interior-designer girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes).Of course, having a child as the central character being terrorized by the furnace creatures adds another story dynamic and increases the tension and horror of the film.
Also added was the back story of what those furnace creatures really were. A prologue having a grisly scene about teeth sets the tone for the film. But I must say that that first scene involving teeth and chisel IS already the scariest part of the film for me! I hate scenes with teeth! I think being tormented by an unknown entity makes the events scarier, don't you think? Having the creepy crawly little CG creatures fully exposed out in the light too much (when they say light hurts them) also takes away a lot of the suspense.
You really have to suspend your disbelief as several illogical scenes can be seen, especially regarding why some characters did or did not do certain things which we would ordinarily think of doing when faced with such situation. The ending sequence of mayhem was I think overdone in this remake to the point of making it annoying why certain things did not happen. Why didn't they investigate the severe injuries of the handyman? Why didn't they look at the photos the child was taking? Why didn't they see the creature caught by the kid in the bookcase? The additional character of the dad's girlfriend just added some storyline complications, but was not exactly necessary to the story. Overall, it is just alright. I did not think it was that particularly spectacular as some reviews would make you believe.