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Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (2011)


Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 161
Fresh: 94
Rotten: 67

Critics Consensus: While it's pleasantly atmospheric and initially quite scary, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark ultimately fails to deliver the skin-crawling chills of the original.

Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 36
Fresh: 18
Rotten: 18

Critics Consensus: While it's pleasantly atmospheric and initially quite scary, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark ultimately fails to deliver the skin-crawling chills of the original.


Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 40,055


Movie Info

While architect Alex Hurst (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) restore their Gothic mansion's period interiors, Alex's young daughter Sally (Bailee Madison) can investigate the macabre history and dark corners of the estate. Spurring Sally's investigation are the voices-rasping whispers who call out to her from the basement, who promise her understanding and friendship, who are so very hungry and would like to be set free. When Sally gives in to her curiosity, she opens a … More

R (for violence and terror)
Mystery & Suspense , Horror
Directed By:
Written By:
Guillermo del Toro , Matthew Robbins
In Theaters:
Jan 3, 2012
Box Office:
Miramax Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

All Critics (163) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (94) | Rotten (67) | DVD (8)

There is so much here that one admires, one wishes that there was more to love.

Full Review… | October 5, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

The film looks good, it sounds great (Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders' score is full of darkly murmuring woodwinds), and Madison is a pip of a lead.

Full Review… | September 1, 2011
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

A welcome alternative to the current genre offerings, steeped in old-fashioned atmosphere and faithful to haunted house routine, albeit to a fault.

Full Review… | August 26, 2011
Top Critic

This is still a seriously entertaining horror movie, one that will please newcomers as well as fans of the original oddity.

Full Review… | August 26, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Despite all the care that has been put into it, the film doesn't transcend its dime-store horror roots.

Full Review… | August 26, 2011
Miami Herald
Top Critic

The season's scariest horror film - and, depending on what the next few months bring, perhaps the year's.

Full Review… | August 26, 2011
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

If the scares aren't all quite as effective as the rest of the film, then there's still plenty to tickle the nerves of a less jaded horror fan.

Full Review… | September 8, 2013

Completists of del Toro will want to check it out as a curio but it's hard to imagine general audiences or even horror fans finding anything here they haven't seen before.

Full Review… | July 10, 2013
The Playlist

Guillermo del Toro's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is as murky and ill-conceived as its multitude of dimly-lit corners,

Full Review… | February 28, 2013
We Got This Covered

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark might not play as well for adults, but younger audiences (namely preteens) will likely enjoy the hell out of this one.

Full Review… | January 29, 2012

With the exception of the opening segment this remake can't hold a candle to its chintzy but decidedly more satisfying forebear.

Full Review… | December 30, 2011
Knight at the Movies

In this hyperactive digital age, "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" is almost antiquated in its approach to horror. And that is its greatest strength.

Full Review… | December 28, 2011
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

Every week, it seems, I watch a remake, or a 'reimagining,' of a feature film that didn't need to be remade. Now here's a remake of, I swear, a made-for-TV movie (starring Kim Darby, incidentally) from the 1970s.

Full Review… | December 22, 2011
KWQC-TV (Iowa)

ola exoyne mia safh epirroh apo Spielberg thn opoia o Nixey denei sxedon arista me to gotthiko, zwntano arxontiko poy eixe sto myalo toy, asxeta an parallhla se aifnidiazei me th.. mh Del Toro-ikothta toy

Full Review… | November 20, 2011
Movies for the Masses

It's not a question of whether the dark is something worth being afraid of, but whether or not it will actually put you to sleep.

Full Review… | November 4, 2011

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is horror by-the-numbers. Parts of it are effectively chilling, and the performances are fine, but there's no sense of reality.

Full Review… | November 3, 2011
Sydney Morning Herald

A remake of a film del Toro says frightened him as a child, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark suffers from a very grown-up need to answer all the questions and the result is more Gremlins than Grimm.

Full Review… | November 3, 2011

The notion that clichés become clichés because they work every time is writ large in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, a film that does everything right but nothing new.

Full Review… | November 2, 2011

The formula is all too predictably followed

Full Review… | October 29, 2011
Urban Cinefile

There are a few genuine scares in this fantasy horror movie produced and co-written by Guillermo del Toro, although it smacks of melodrama and manipulation

Full Review… | October 29, 2011
Urban Cinefile

Dont Be Afraid Of The Dark will remind viewers to tuck their feet in at night but is unlikely to terrify any hardcore horror fans.

Full Review… | October 13, 2011

The irony, of course, is that you should be afraid of the dark. And you will be, after watching this scary horror film.

Full Review… | October 12, 2011
Birmingham Post

A film that'll give you second thoughts about relocating to that country pile.

Full Review… | October 12, 2011
SFX Magazine

It's watchable enough and elegantly staged, but it's an Amityville Horror with delusions of grandeur.

Full Review… | October 9, 2011
Observer [UK]

Decently produced and acted, and the demons are creepy - but this is no Pan's Labyrinth and ends up a mite predictable.

Full Review… | October 7, 2011
This is London

The old dark house is exactly the sort of place where you'd expect scary things to happen. The only trouble is that the monsters are cute rather than scary.

Full Review… | October 7, 2011
Daily Mirror [UK]

Audience Reviews for Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark


Hey, I'm a fan of the 1973 original; it was the first real horror movie I saw and made me a horror fan for life. The remake producer Guillermo Del Toro was supposedly a fan too, but this movie was too manufactured and lacked the rawness of the original. The remake's large gothic house was overdressed and overstyled. One of the biggest changes from the orignial was that the family in the house now had a little girl - and she was the one pestered by the little goblin things which came out of the caverns under the fireplace in the basement. They created a huge legend of these creatures, with a historical sorta prologue of the previous owners. Added to the legend was the creatures' need for human teeth! All this story clutter made the story less immersive and less scary. I liked the CGI appearances of the creature hoard. The scene with the Handyman meeting the creatures was painfully gorey. They remade some of the classic scenes with greater effects, but nothing in the whole movie was ever scary. The pay-off came at the end, which I really liked.

Lafe Fredbjornson

Super Reviewer

First of all, the rating is all wrong. I think 15 is more like it.

There were times when the characters' actions were painfully stupid and I thought the ending was rubbish. Despite all that, I really enjoyed this one.

vieras esine

Super Reviewer

*Spoilers* Surely the dark is only scary when you can't see what is lurking within it? The fact that you can clearly see the *face-palm* Tooth fairies, the fear is somewhat gone. The direction and set pieces are visually pleasing and the last scene is genuinely frightening and unexpected but for the most part the characters are cliche and nothing much happens. I did love that scene where Jim Robinson and Mike Young are reunited after 20 years though. If only Helen Robinson had been around to see it. An ok horror but would have been scarier had Mrs Mangel played the villain.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


Creepy little demons. Scared little girl that no one will pay attention to. Lots, and lots of darkness...made me jump more than once, so that means something in my book. Not the greatest of endings, as usual..

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark Quotes

Sally Hurst:
Tell me what you want!
We want you! [screeches]
– Submitted by Eric G (22 months ago)
Old fool.
– Submitted by I Am The Vast UNIVERSE I (2 years ago)
This house is unsafe for a child.
– Submitted by Jed G (2 years ago)
Sally Hurst:
They don't like bright lights, you know, those things.
– Submitted by Jed G (2 years ago)
Come and join us.
– Submitted by Jed G (2 years ago)
Sally Hurst:
What are you?
What are we? Hungry.
– Submitted by Jed G (2 years ago)

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