Beyond the Books

Your Guide to student life

Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011 7:41 p.m.

What We’re Watching

The Hatchet shares its latest flick.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” (2011)

I bought my ticket for “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” without quite knowing what to expect. The trailer doesn’t offer too much information in terms of plot and it makes the film out to look much like your average haunted house flick.

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The story centers on Sally (Bailee Madison), who is sent to live with her father Alex (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes). Alex and Kim have moved into Blackwood Manor, the home of a deceased painter who mysteriously disappeared years ago. With hopes of being recognized for their work as the architect and interior designer of the remodeled home, the two pay little attention to Sally when she starts to hear voices coming from the basement. Sally’s disturbing experiences grow more intense and frequent, testing her relationship with both her father and with Kim as she begins to fear for her life.

Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins wrote the screenplay for this remake of the 1973 teleplay by the same name. Del Toro’s influence is evident throughout the film, with eerie scenery and dramatic music reminiscent of “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

The first scene and opening credits draw the viewer in and set expectations high. Unfortunately, much of the film is slow and somewhat predictable from there. There are a few good scenes that made me jump but the movie takes a turn for the comical once it shows the creatures that are haunting Sally.

The gremlin-esque critters are the least terrifying part of the movie, and would have made for a better effect if they never actually showed themselves.

I cannot discredit the acting in this film, however. Madison gives a convincing performance as the angry yet vulnerable young girl. Holmes shows she’s come a long way since her “Dawson’s Creek” days, and makes viewers love her character from the very beginning. Pearce offers a realistic portrayal of a neglectful father consumed by his work, while still showing a desire to reconnect with his daughter.

Overall, the film was well done but not the most entertaining. The plot is engaging, and the visual effects and audio help tie the product together artistically. The film deserves recognition from a cinematic perspective, but I expect a majority of viewers to leave the theater feeling disappointed.

Genre: Horror, Thriller
Director: Troy Nixey
Cast: Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, Bailee Madison, Jack Thompson
Release Date: 26 August 2011