This R-rated remake of the somewhat beloved TV movie from the early 70s offers very little in the way of both scares and entertainment. A cherub-faced young girl dealing with the separation of her parents is sent to live with her father (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend (Katie Holmes) in their recently acquired creepy old mansion that obviously houses malevolent little CG creatures (or “ancient entities from the otherworld” as one character puts it). The creatures speak English in a scratchy, elongated whisper reminiscent of the voice acting in the Jim Henson fantasy films. It’s unfair to mention Henson’s name in relation to this film though as first time director Troy Nixey barely illustrates an instance of creativity or originality throughout the film’s overly long 99 minute running time.
Guillermo del Toro, the famed director who, in recent years, has done much more work in front of the camera as an expert in horror filmology than he’s done behind the camera, produced this film and thus the marketing department has plastered his name all over it. If Don’t… illustrates one thing it’s that the “del Toro” name isn’t necessarily a mark of quality.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark opens wide in Philly area theaters today.