Re: Official Movie Viewing Thread 3
Just watched the "Don't be Afraid of the Dark" remake. Not a bad movie at all, but not particularly scary, especially when compared to the original. Even though Del Toro co-wrote the script, it had a few problems. A bit too cliched, and making the main character a child instead of an adult like in the original (Kim Darby, much better than she was in "True Grit") fed into that problem.
A couple of things made it work as a decent story, if not a scary one. First, the acting was very good. Guy Pearce was disappointingly bland (I keep wondering why I don't see him more, but his performance in this movie was forgettable,) but the other actors, particularly Bailee Madison as the little girl, were excellent. In the beginning I thought Madison was going to be just another sullen, bratty child, but she ended up giving one of the more natural performances I've seen from a child her age. Too often child actors are acting precocious and sounding as if they're reading their lines, but she was as good as anyone in the movie. Katie Holmes was good as well, though her character could have been fleshed out more. Alan Dale, Charles Widmore from Lost, had a very brief role that I thought (after he saw the polaroid) was going to be bigger than it was, but he made the most of it. And Jack Thompson, who was as big as anyone back when I lived in Sydney, had a too-brief wise-old-man role. I think all of the actors other than Holmes and Madison may have been from Australia and New Zealand, even though the film was set in Rhode Island.
Which brings up the second thing I liked about the movie--the attention to detail The settings, particularly the house, were magnificent. An opening scene that was scarier than the rest of the movie used this setting to create a Victorian/early 20th century horror story atmosphere that was recalled later in the movie. As an old horro story fan, I appreciated several little touches, such as the man who owned the house at the beginning of the movie being named Emerson Blackwood, a nod toward the great horror writer Algernon Blackwood, a scene that evoked Lovecraft's "Pickman's Model" (a line from that book was even used) and a direct reference to Arthur Machen, the Welsh writer who wrote chilling tales about the little people. I thought the librarian's linking Machen to actual history was a nod to Machen's story about the phantom bowmen of Agincourt appearing in WWI being taken as fact by many, but I may be overreaching there.
I had a problem with the ending, one that was addressed in the last scene at least to a point. I was already saying to myself that what was suggested at the very end should already have happened.
Not a bad movie, but not as good as the original. Then again, what is?
Last edited by tixe; 06-01-2012 at 02:41 PM.