Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Spy Kids: All The Time in the World in 4D. Lots of movies coming out this summer have freakishly long titles. Don’t be Afraid of the Dark, released to theatres yesterday, adds to that mouthful of a list, but don’t let that discourage you from seeing it amidst all the action packed popcorn flicks. (P.S. What the heck is 4D, anyway?)
Movie review: ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ rises above
Architect Alex (Guy Pearce) and his interior designer girlfriend, Kim, (Katie Holmes) are fixing up Blackwood Manor, a sprawling Rhode Island mansion, in hopes of selling it. When Alex’s young daughter, Sally, (portrayed by the undeniably adorable Bailee Madison) arrives to stay with them, things start to change. Not only is Sally unreceptive of her father and new (quasi) stepmother, but after discovering a hidden basement in the house, she starts spinning wild stories about little demon creatures who come in the night and attempt take her away. But are they just stories, the product of an overactive (and medicated) child’s imagination, or are they real? Alex and Kim are reluctant to believe her, but if they don’t step into help, Sally’s life may be in danger.
See the trailer for ‘Don’t be Afraid of the Dark’
Don’t be Afraid of the Dark is a remake of a 1973 made-for-TV movie that went largely unnoticed except by the biggest of horror fanatics. Producer Guillermo del Toro (the mastermind behind hits like Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth) was a fan of the original, and it comes across in the care he gives this update. Sure, there are a few plot holes, and the mythology behind the demons and the house are never explained as fully as some might have liked. But what it lacks in plot it makes up for in characters, the most important part of any story. It’s not a movie about bizarre creatures looking to cut people up. It’s about the complicated relationships between parent and child and step-parent and child, and the vivid imaginations of children. After all, would anyone but a child have so easily believed in the creatures from the start?
Despite its flaws, Don’t be Afraid of the Dark does what any good story does: It keeps you wanting to know what will happen next. You’ll laugh, you’ll scream, and you might even shed a tear or two. Hattiesburg residents: Catch it at The Grand 18 on Grand Drive, just off of Highway 98.
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