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'Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark' - traditionally scary (IANS Movie Review)

Film: 'Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark'; Cast: Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, Bailee Madison; Director: Troy Nixey; Rating: ***1/2

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Film: 'Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark'; Cast: Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, Bailee Madison; Director: Troy Nixey; Rating: ***1/2

There's a difference between horror and gore. Different types of films can be gory, including horror ones. However, horror films need not be gory. Indeed, films of the past relied more on scaring viewers by what lies hidden in the dark, rather than gore.

The equation today has changed with most horror films trying to accentuate the fear element by excessive gore without often realising they end up doing just the opposite.

It is hence indeed a delight in such times, to find a film being made that is very traditional in its horror, yet managing to give you the creeps.

Architect Alex Hurst (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) restore old, dilapidated mansions. They are restoring a gothic house when Alex's daughter Sally (Bailee Madisom) comes to stay with them.

Sally is emotionally disturbed and distant to both Alex and Kim. Hence, when she hears voices in the house calling her for friendship and games, she follows them.

Unknown to her, she will unleash ancient horrors that will see her fighting for survival even as her parents think her description of those horrors to be mere imaginations of a fertile mind.

'Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark', a remake of a 1-3 TV horror film bearing the same name, manages to do exactly what it's title tells you not to - make you afraid of the dark.

It is of special delight because it gets the horror just right. That's because it is not the special effects that give you the chill, but the fear of what's lurking behind darkness' veil.

For a long time, the film teases the viewers, not giving them a glimpse of those mysterious things that are not human, but can talk.

The film stays true to its original by staying a traditional creature horror film that gets the creatures right. The creatures are tiny, but they will terrorise your imagination. And giving perfect company is the background score.

The special effects are also good and the better part is that the effects serve to stay more in the background, rather than be the driving force of the film.

It also manages to create some very believable scenarios and horror situations. However where the film fails is in some common logic. Even if this is pardonable, what is not is in explaining the craving of the creatures for children and especially thei' 'teeth'.

Despite these, it is a cause for celebration that another fantastic imagination from co-writer and producer Guillermo del Toro (Pan's labyrinth) with apt direction from Troy Nixey, finally finds a big screen to play in India, and grab you by the throat of your fear in the darkness of the theatre, even as it asks you to not be afraid of the dark.

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