Are You Afraid Of The Dark?

You just know that a film that calls itself ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ is going to give you every reason never to switch your night-light off again. Especially when it’s a horror/thriller presented by Guillermo Del Toro.

The story is a dark spin on the ‘tooth fairy’ concept, transforming the good-spirited beings of legend into sly, murderous predators. We follow Sally Hirst (Bailee Madison), a young girl who has just moved into a new house with her negligent father Alex (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes). One day Sally hears strange whispers drifting through the mansion, asking to be “set free.” She follows the voices and discovers an old fireplace in the basement. Unknown to Sally, the fireplace’s bolted door is the only barrier between herself and the evil creatures on the other side. Creatures which will stop at nothing to devour the bones and teeth of their human victims, and claim her as their own.

Of course, the story has been done before. The 1973 version, written by Nigel McKeand and directed by John Newland, became a cult classic. It was a favourite of Del Toro‘s, which explains his enthusiasm for a remake. “It was something close to my heart for a very long time,” he revealed on USA Today. “My brothers and I would pursue each other in the house, saying “Sally, Sally.” We thought the movie was the most terrifying on Earth, and I want to honour what worked so well in that film.”

Fans of the original might be sceptical, but there could hardly be a more fitting name behind the revamp. Del Toro has proven himself a master of twisted fairytales with ‘Pan’s Labyrinth‘ and ‘The Orphanage,’ and it looks like there are traces of both in ‘Don’t Be Afraid.’ A theme they share is the vulnerability of children: a lonely child is led astray by a mysterious force, which seems inviting at first but evolves into something uglier and much more deadly. This is what makes these films so scary; they rekindle childhood fears of isolation, of nobody believing you about the things that go ‘bump’ in the night.        

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark‘ will be released in UK cinemas on October 7th.
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