The plot is a little silly, but the newest Star Trek is a great way to reintroduce the series to a new generation. The new actors, especially Zachary Quinto as Spock, fit their roles nicely. A healthy does of action doesn't hurt either.
Most children outgrow their fears of the dark by the time they reach adulthood. Even so, there's still something unnerving about not being able to see one's surroundings. "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," with its extremely misleading title, capitalizes on this and uses darkness in clever ways to create a truly terrifying experience.
Alex Hurst (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) are nearly finished restoring a historic manor. A few days before they officially finish, Alex's ex-wife sends his daughter, Sally (Bailee Madison), to live with the couple.
Sally is either detached, distraught, or depressed--possibly all three. Any attempts that Alex or Katie make to bond with the girl are met with indifference or scorn. She's a girl out of her environment who feels alone, and that's when she starts hearing whispers. Though barely audible, Sally clearly hears her name. The voices call to her and say that they would like to be friends with Sally.
With her curiosity and naivete hand in hand, Sally makes an effort to reach out to the voices and unknowingly releases a dark and dastardly evil.
What sets "Dark" apart from many other horror movies is its slow reveal of the monsters. So many horror movies make the mistake of equating gore and gruesome creatures with fear. Instead, "Dark" leaves much to the audience's imagination. Even when the creatures are visible, they are usually obscured. Because they hide in darkness, they are often reduced to little more than shapes and eyes and sharp objects.
When the audience finally comes face-to-face with a creature, it makes for one of the most terrifying reveals in all of cinema.
"Dark" is about more than just the reveal. Though it has a few jumps, the film relies on its strong, eerie atmosphere.
Madison may be young, but she depicts terror better than most Hollywood veterans. After watching what her character goes through, moviegoers may want to leave a few extra lights on when they get home.
As bleak as the arctic outpost where it takes place and as paranoid as the actors inside, "The Thing" is a nearly perfect horror film. Human nature and (the absence of) trust become just as terrifying as the murderous alien creature.
Ricky Gervais is charming as usual, but the joke does wear thin fairly quickly. A good parody does not tell you that it is a parody because it's somewhat insulting to your intelligence. Thankfully, a unique spoof of religion crops up and freshens the film just enough to keep it interesting.