Posted on 11/06/10 10:07 PM
Don't Be Afraid of The Dark, scheduled to be released in 2011, played at my local film festival earlier today. That sentence was placed there specifically to gloat.
This movie stars a family of three composed of a dad named Alex(Guy Pearce), his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes), and Alex's daughter Sally (Bailee Madison). The two adults buy a house once owned by a painter who.. lets just say bad things happened to him, and Alex's daughter comes to live with them after moving from her mother's house in LA. One day, she discovers a hidden basement to the house where the painter (Blackwood, I believe his name is) used to.. paint.. Anyway, the girl begins to hear voices in the room, and no one believes her because she is 10.
Most horror movies today rely on cheap, cliche jump scares in order to thrill the audience. For the most part, this movie is not one of those. There were four or fives uses of jump scares in the movie. A few of them did occur at terrible times, one making me shake my head in disbelief. However, the most effective one was the jump used in the trailer when the POV is crawling under the bed sheets, lifting new areas of sheet up as it moves further down the bed. Even after watching the watered-down version twice in the trailer and another two times in the festival advertisement, it still hit as hard as the first time. It is done so well in the actual movie that you know it's coming from a mile away, and you sit there for seconds, waiting for it to happen. Then when it does, and you see what's there, it comes as a huge shock.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of the film is its music. The score is great from the dramatic scenes and the mellow soundtrack to the horrific scenes and the tense soundtracks. It's hard if not impossible to describe the music in words, so I will stop by saying that it's effective.
The last thing I will talk about (mostly because it is 1 am) is the story. First, we see the original occurrence of Blackwood (see above) in a flash back Prom Night type of way. I don't want to give anything away, but I'll say this- stuff happened. Then, we have the present day where people uncover past events and fall into some sort of trouble. The cool part about the story was being told about all of the paintings and how they changed along with what changed them. That probably doesn't make sense, but it will if you watch it. You see a painter as if he was a guy in real life, and something happened in his life that changed his paintings and made it creepier. Horror movies are much more effective when they have a story laced into the scare and blood, and this one is a fine example.
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is a great horror movie in a day and age where they are hard to come by. I recommend seeing this when it comes out next year. Yes, that was more gloating.