Friday, March 2, 2012

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2011)

This movie had "Guillermo del Toro" right on the cover so I knew pretty much what to expect - some dark, spooky freaky shit with a little girl in it. And I was right! That being said, this movie was actually pretty good.

A sullen but kind of neat little girl (Bailee Madison) gets sent to live with her dad (Guy Pearce) who is restoring an old house with his girlfriend (Katie Holmes), to whom the girl does not particularly take to at first. Despite the fact that the house is totally fucking cool, the basement is infested with an ancient evil... in the form of a bunch of little pixies who are afraid of bright light.

I shit you not, the monster is a bunch of god damn evil fairies. And you know what? It works. Just because something is small doesn't mean that it can't be scary - in fact a whole shit load of little things is probably scarier than one big thing (remember in Jurassic Park 2 when the guy from Fargo got eaten by compsognathus? It was SO TERRIFYING they couldn't even show it).

And furthermore, you know, there aren't a whole lot of horror movies about fairies which I find weird. Sure, when people think of fairies they either think of this:

Or, if they're not into political correctness, this:

But there are all kinds of malevolent beings that can be described as 'fairies', like Spriggans, Goblins, Kelpies, Redcaps and the Glaistig, which, despite being completely terrifying, almost never show up in movies. So, you know, this movie does that at least. Represent. That being said, I think that I could probably deal with the goblins in this movie. For starters, they were only really interested in children. I think. I wasn't actually too clear on what they were after.

It was stated that they wanted children's teeth, but also that whenever they came to the human realm they needed to take somebody back with them - so both I guess? I don't know, I think if you dragged a kid into the netherworld you would automatically get their teeth, right? That's sort of part of the package. So why bother going after teeth? Not a whole lot of logic going on there.

I also have seven cats so I'm not really that worried about anything smaller than a raccoon bothering me at home. Fuck the goblins.

But I digress. Back to the point, there were some pretty serious gaps in logic here. I mean, they find this dungeon underneath the house which was sealed up (they didn't notice the hollow wall when they were gutting the place for some reason) and is totally fucking creepy and instead of, I dunno, going to work on renewing it or at the very least cataloguing the never before seen paitings (the guy who originally owned the house was a renowned painter), they just fuck off and shut the door.

In fact, the adults in the movie seem shockingly nonchalant about everything. It's pretty obvious that there are some little creatures running around the house and the dad dismisses them as rats - so... your house is full of giant fucking rats. Maybe get somebody in there to deal with it? The guy is trying to sell the place after all, having a basement full of monster rats isn't exactly a great selling point.

Actually, you know what, the dad is the only one who is frustratingly dismissive. The awesome gardener (Jack Thompson) knows that there are child stealing creatures in the basement and almost gets killed by them, and Katie Holmes is quickly convinced. It's just dickhead that won't smarten up.

To conclude, this was pretty good. It was kinda silly and not a classic by any means, but it was well done, the acting was good (I was surprised by how much I liked Katie Holmes - I've only seen her in Batman and thought she was terrible but she was good in this) particularly the little girl, and though some portions of the movie were really dark they were never so dark that you can't tell what's going on, and it sort of has something to do with the story so cool.


Directed by: Troy Nixey.  Written by: Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins based on the 1973 TV movie by Nigel McKeand.  Starring: Bailee Madison, Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce.

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