Don’t be Afraid of the Dark

31 Mar

Director: Troy Nixey

Writers: Guillermo del Toro (screenplay), Matthew Robbins (screenplay), and 1 more credit

Stars: Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce and Bailee Madison

Motion Picture Rating: R

Runtime: 99 minutes



Katie Holmes, since being locked away in a scientology cupboard by husband Tom Cruise, has not made many films. Judged on this one and her other recent offering Jack and Jill (with serial offender Adam Sandler) we are being saved as movie goers by diminutive Tom’s spousal control. Katie is in this ‘scary’ outing with Guy Pearce so there are two fairly heavyweight actors attached. More headline grabbing is the writer-producer credit that goes to Guillermo del Toro who started his career with really scary films such as Cronos and The Devil’s Backbone.

The pre title opening of this film provides its gruesome backdrop and sets up the nasty secret that gets locked away in the bowels of the creepy mansion. That secret will be unearthed by Holmes, Pearce and their daughter as they renovate the house in the present day. Those first five minutes tell a lot about the film. The ghostly horse and carriage, the candlelit manor, the strange goings on in the dark basement etc are all very Scooby Doo. Once the ‘crime’ occurred I was half expecting the Mystery Machine to show up, but had to settle for half decent actors phoning in poor performances.

There is nothing here to recommend this film. It is poorly executed and borderline funny at times. On the Scooby Doo front we even get a grumpy and suspicious gardener as one of the important second string characters! Guillermo del Toro mines some of his previous films including Pan’s Labyrinth, but this is light years away from that masterpiece. The acting is wooden, the music is awful and there are very few scary moments indeed.

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