Sally (Bailee Madison) is in the never-enviable position of being the young child being shuttled between self-absorbed divorced parents. Her mother has sent Sally to visit her dad, Alex (Guy Pearce), while he renovates a dilapidated New England mansion. And by "visit," I of course mean "live forever with" --- surprise! Alex isn't a very attentive parent, and his interest in Sally's happiness can best be described as "nonexistent."
|Alex, envisioning his daughter's future bedroom|
|...which apparently includes parts of Narnia|
|Because they didn't want to see children going through what appears to be a doorway to Hell?|
|Try shouting "I don't believe in faeries!" It would kill Tinkerbell.|
|Oh relax. You have another set to look forward to.|
I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the acting in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. Bailee Madison did a solid job in the lead role. For child actors in horror movies, there is a fine line between acting scared and being extremely annoying, but Madison never really approached anything obnoxious. I thought she was pretty believable, even when making extremely poor choices.
|Example: this is where she went potty|
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark was the first (and so far, only) directorial effort by Troy Nixey. For a first effort, Nixey had an uphill battle. This is, at its core, a haunted house movie, which means it relies heavily on atmosphere and suspense --- two things that even veteran directors have trouble with. There are moments where he succeeds; the smaller-scale scares that leave something to the imagination are actually pretty good.
|Two words: creepy hands|
|"Bippity boppity bitch!"|
As a horror movie, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark doesn't have a lot of what genre fans typically look for in an R-rated flick. There is a bit of gruesome violence at the beginning of the movie; the prologue was pretty cool and even had me cringing a little. For the rest of the movie, though, there isn't much violence or gore to speak of. If you were looking for gratuitous nudity, I would like to point out that the heroine is a child, so...please stop.
|This is not sexy|