Don't Be Afraid of the Dark 2010 4 out 10
I recently recorded Don't Be Afraid of the Dark during the annual crush of Halloween movies on TV and decided to move it to the top of my list of nearly full DVR recorded movies and my overwhelming (never going to get to some of them) Netflix queue. I watched it based on the Guillermo Del Toro's track record, since both Hellboy movies were good and Pacific Rim was great.
It is haunted house movie after all and at one point he was scheduled to do a reboot of The Haunted Mansion for Disney, so I was curious to see what he made. Well it turns out I wasn't afraid of the dark after all, it was really an underwhelming film.
The Story: The Story follows a Dad and his girlfriend living in a mansion that clearly looks haunted with his young daughter that until then had been living with her mom. (a storyline that isn't really explained well.) The dad is restoring the mansion in order to resell it for his client and within the first days of his daughter's arrival the family discovers a secret basement. The basement was sealed for a reason dummies and the reason is where the movie falls apart for me. The movie has potential with the creepiness of what lurks in the basement --but once you see the evil little creatures the tension falls apart for me. The daughter, who is already having a rough time adjusting to the change in her living conditions is tormented by the little creatures and at first no one believes her. They just write off her concerns as her needing therapy to deal with family issues , until a groundskeeper is attacked by something in that creepy basement. Most people would leave at this point (Like the famous Eddie Murphy bit about white people in a haunted house --(the irony)). The groundkeeper's death isn't enough to get hem to believe her or leave, but it is enough to get the girlfriend (played by Katie Holmes) to do some research on the house. She finds out the truth about the house and they still stay???? Throw in the Jaws Scenario scene about having to stay because they have important dinner???? All in all it just didn't work and wasn't scary at all.
The Creatures: The creatures themselves are the worst part of the movie. We would have been better off never seeing them and just hearing their creepy whispers. They look like a bunch of demented sewer rats on meth. They were basically meant to be a creepy play on Tooth Fairies and it just didn't work and all for me. Maybe they should have just called an exterminator for these rat fairies.