There is so much here that one admires, one wishes that there was more to love.
| Original Score: 3/5
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.
A welcome alternative to the current genre offerings, steeped in old-fashioned atmosphere and faithful to haunted house routine, albeit to a fault.
This is still a seriously entertaining horror movie, one that will please newcomers as well as fans of the original oddity.
| Original Score: 3/4
Despite all the care that has been put into it, the film doesn't transcend its dime-store horror roots.
| Original Score: 2/4
The season's scariest horror film - and, depending on what the next few months bring, perhaps the year's.
"Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" will turn your nerve endings to Popsicles.
This artless film even approaches child abuse, in the way it crassly reconfigures the protagonist from the besieged adult woman of the original into a neglected and terrified tot.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
Mr. Nixey is doing an Alfred Hitchcock homage within a movie lacking anything as subversive, or skilled, as Hitchcock.
There's no denying that his latest monsters are imaginative and detailed creations, but the haunted house-style story is hampered by his desire to show them off.
| Original Score: 5.5/10
What they're after is clear from the film's gruesome prologue; what they look like is withheld until long after we have ceased to care.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Don't worry about fearing darkness, but beware horror flicks that trot out every hoary cliché.
"Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," expands upon the creepy and effective TV movie from 1973.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
The film never takes hold emotionally, despite strong work from Holmes and young Madison. With Del Toro's name in the credits, standard chills aren't enough.
If there's one big flaw with Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, it's that in 2011, there's only so long that we can watch movie characters face the perils of a haunted house without thinking, "GET OUT ALREADY!"
As a horror film should be, it's gruesome, tension-filled and you can't tear your eyes from the screen. But it's also cruel, quite depressing and utterly sad.
I do hope that "Don't" doesn't do Nixey in, as he has a real knack for staging high anxiety. For Del Toro, the question is, what happened?
While there are moments of eldritch atmosphere and a few pro forma jolts, nothing here justifies our attention, let alone the film's inexplicable R rating.
Joltingly graphic and atmospheric (Nixey and his crew at least know how to set up a few good shocks), Don't Be Afraid of the Dark fails to involve us in any meaningful way with its characters.
If you flinch at "boo," you'll find plenty to jump at here. Just don't expect striking originality, or even genuinely memorable eeriness.
The remake plays like a shallower, more clichéd variation on his masterpiece, Pan's Labyrinth, but its mix of gory effects and deliciously old-fashioned visuals make for a classy, scary horror show.
While the end of "Don't Be Afraid" is creepy, it's far from emotionally satisfying.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
While director Nixey has talent, his indiscriminately roving camera tends to diffuse the tension, not heighten it.
Nixey does a nice job of creating a weird, menacing world.
Nixey steeps everything in a surfeit of atmosphere. It overflows. It suffuses every frame. It seeps off the screen and into the auditorium.
This is an above-average horror flick by any measure, nicely directed by del Toro protégé Troy Nixey in an atmospheric, unshowy style that recalls cheapo '70s cinema without mimicking it.
Though Nixey carries it across with some style, some intensity, and some graphic imagination, the whole isn't quite the sum of its somes.
| Original Score: B-
This is a very good haunted house film. It milks our frustration deliciously.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
It's a plodding, derivative gothic potboiler: The Shining meets Coraline, with a touch of Gremlins played (boringly) straight.
| Original Score: C-
The new version of "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" is entirely too literal, but it still manages to be a literally hair-raising piece of modern-style old school Gothic horror.
After announcing he was no longer directing The Hobbit, Mr. Del Toro sustained a blow to his post-Pan's Labyrinth armor, and this washout brings him one step closer to full career rupture.
If the grand finale isn't as resonantly scary as the original's, maybe that's just because, try though we might, we're no longer impressionable kids.
The tension del Toro and Nixey create promises much more than it delivers.
...the moviemakers are refurbishing an older, shabbier piece of workmanship -- and it's a welcome enough place to stay for a few hours.
A suspenseful yet markedly less insidious update.
A scary film where the scares peter out far too quickly.