Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010 film)

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is a 2010 horror film written by Matthew Robbins and Guillermo del Toro and directed by comic book artist Troy Nixey. It is a remake of the 1973 ABC made-for-television horror film of the same name.[3][dead link] The film stars Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, and Bailee Madison, as a family moving into a 19th-century Rhode Island mansion, where the withdrawn daughter (Sally) begins to witness malevolent creatures that emerge from a sealed ash pit in the basement of the house. Jack Thompson, Alan Dale, Garry McDonald, and Julia Blake star in supporting roles.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
Dont be afraid of the dark poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTroy Nixey
Produced byGuillermo del Toro
Mark Johnson
Stephen Jones
Written byGuillermo del Toro
Matthew Robbins
Based on
Starring
Music byMarco Beltrami
Buck Sanders
CinematographyOliver Stapleton
Edited byJill Bilcock
Production
company
Necropia
Gran Via
Distributed byFilmDistrict
Miramax Films
Release date
  • November 6, 2010 (2010-11-06) (Virginia Film Festival)
  • August 26, 2011 (2011-08-26) (United States)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Australia
Mexico
LanguageEnglish
Budget$25 million[1][2]
Box office$38.3 million[2]

An international co-production between the United States, Australia, and Mexico, it was filmed at the Drusilla Mansion in Mount Macedon and Melbourne (both in Victoria, Australia).[4]

The film was released in the United States on August 26, 2011, by Miramax Films and FilmDistrict. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark has received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Holmes, Pearce and Madison's performances, direction, atmosphere and musical score, but criticized the lack of originality and jump scares. The film grossed $38.3 million against a $25 million budget.

PlotEdit

At Blackwood Manor in Providence County, Rhode Island in the 19th century, renowned wildlife painter Lord Blackwood summons his housekeeper to the basement where he reluctantly bludgeons her to death. He removes her teeth, as well as his own, and offers them to mysterious creatures inside an ash pit within an old fireplace; the creatures reject his offer and demand only the teeth of children. Blackwood begs for them to give back his kidnapped son, only to be dragged in by the creatures.

In present day, 8-year old Sally Hurst arrives in Rhode Island to live with her father Alex and his girlfriend Kim, both restoring Blackwood Manor to put it on the market for their client. Sally is depressed due to her mother forcefully putting her in Alex's care and giving her copious amounts of Adderall. The creatures are awakened by a tune from the nightlight. The next day, Sally hears the creatures calling her name and follows the voices to a sealed fireplace. "BE AFRAID" is written in runes above it.

She opens the fireplace and finds one of the old housekeeper's teeth. The creatures prove to be hostile, stealing Alex's razor and shredding Kim's clothes. Alex blames Sally and finds a 19th-century silver coin in her possession, which she found under her pillow after the tooth disappeared. Sally sneaks to the basement to talk with the creatures, but Mr. Harris, one of the workers, sends her away and tries to seal the fireplace. The creatures brutally wound him and he is hospitalized.

Kim visits Harris in the hospital, who tells her to find the unpublished artwork of Lord Blackwood in the local library. The artwork is of a creature the librarian describes as being like tooth fairies, which sometimes turn a human into one of their own. Sally is attacked again by the creatures, the leader being a transformed Lord Blackwood. Kim finds an undiscovered mural painted by Blackwood, depicting his son being taken by the creatures. Sally is trapped in the library by the creatures, but fends them off using her camera flash since they are afraid of the light. She also manages to kill one of them.

Alex and Kim try to flee the house with Sally but they are all ambushed by the creatures and knocked out. When Sally wakes up, her feet have been tied, and the creatures are starting to drag her to the basement for her transformation. Kim awakens and frees Sally only to get caught herself in the ropes and break both her legs in a gruesome manner. The creatures drag Kim into the fireplace, as a distraught Sally crushes the creature who used to be Lord Blackwood to death. Alex and Sally mourn Kim's loss.

Some time later, both return to the abandoned mansion to leave a drawing of Kim there. After they leave, a draft pulls the drawing into the creatures' lair; the entrance is now bolted with metal. The caring Kim has been transformed. As the creatures plan to come out, Kim convinces them to stay in hiding because they "have all the time in the world" and others will come to the manor.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

Del Toro chose Troy Nixey to direct the film after seeing Nixey's short film Latchkey's Lament. For the design of the creatures in the film, Nixey drew inspiration from pictures of mole rats.[5]

InfluencesEdit

Del Toro has attributed the idea of giving the creatures in the film a fairy origin to the work of the writer Arthur Machen, saying in an interview: "I love the Welsh author Arthur Machen and his idea that fairy lore comes from a dark place, that it’s derived from little, pre-human creatures who are really, really nasty vermin but are magical in a way, living as they do for hundreds of years. His books are what compelled me to do this." Machen's stories are specifically mentioned in the film by the librarian character.[citation needed]

Del Toro is a long-standing admirer of Machen and said his work was also an influence on El Laberinto Del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army both of which also feature fairy creatures.[6]

The name of "Emerson Blackwood", the character who built the mansion in the film, is a tribute to Algernon Blackwood, another writer of supernatural horror stories.[citation needed]

ReleaseEdit

This picture, which was developed with Miramax in the wake of the division's closure and sale, was released by FilmDistrict, and was rated R despite filmmaker ambitions to the contrary.[7] Del Toro has stated, "We originally thought we could shoot it as PG-13 without compromising the scares ... And then the MPAA came back and gave us a badge of honor. They gave us an R for 'Violence and Terror.' We asked them if there was anything we could do, and they said, 'Why ruin a perfectly scary movie?'"[8]

Troy Nixey narrated the film at a screening at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International.[9]

The initial release date was scheduled for January 21, 2011.[10]

Due to the sale of Miramax by Disney on December 3, 2010, the release was put on hold until the sale was finalized.[11] The film was released on August 26, 2011.[12]

ReceptionEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 60% based on reviews from 175 critics, with an average rating of 5.88/10. The website's critical consensus states that "While it's pleasantly atmospheric and initially quite scary, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark ultimately fails to deliver the skin-crawling chills of the original".[13] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score 56 out of 100 based on reviews from 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[14]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3½ stars out of 4, calling it "a very good haunted house film" and adding that it "milks our frustration deliciously."[15]

Home mediaEdit

It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 3, 2012 and February 20, 2012 in the UK.[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Kaufman, Amy (August 25, 2011). "Movie Projector: 'The Help' to brush off the competition again". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark – Box Office Data". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 3, 2011.
  3. ^ Fleming, Michael (May 6, 2009). "'Dark' days for Katie Holmes". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
  4. ^ "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark". The Age. Melbourne. November 4, 2011.
  5. ^ "Movie Pick: 'Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark'". planetsmag.com. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  6. ^ "Dark Deeds: An Interview with Guillermo del Toro and Guy Pearce by Robert Cashill". cineaste.com. Archived from the original on October 7, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
  7. ^ Guillermo del Toro isn't afraid of... Much of anything, latimesblogs.latimes.com; accessed April 1, 2018.
  8. ^ Preview Review, latimesblogs.latimes.com, August 2010.
  9. ^ Barton, Steve (July 2010). "Tiny Images From 'Walking Dead', 'Let Me In', 'Saw 3D' & 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark'". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  10. ^ "Guillermo del Toro's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Gets a Release Date". Dread Central. June 29, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  11. ^ Winning, Josh (October 12, 2010). "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark delayed". TotalFilm.com. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  12. ^ Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark official website, dontbeafraidofthedark.com; accessed April 1, 2018.
  13. ^ "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  14. ^ "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  15. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 24, 2011). "And while you're at it, don't go into the basement". Chicago Sun-Times.

External linksEdit