Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark Reviews
Stick with the original
The acting isn't very good. Not that I was shocked to see Katie Holmes deliver her usual bomb, but the usually great Guy Pearce is just sleepwalking, and Bailee Madison might as well be a cinder-block. What makes their bad performances really noticeably though is a few blatant moments of ridiculous over acting. The actors go from 5 to 100 sporadically and for no reason. The script is thoroughly generic and stiff, and it just feels very forced.
What it really comes down to though is just a dumb idea. Not only is it dumb, but it is boring and uncreative. I expected much more from Del Toro who is usually a huge proponent of outside-the-box creative story telling. Formulaic, slow moving and just not gripping in any way whatsoever. Plot points are introduced and then abandoned with no explanation, it's flush with WTF moments and plot offshoots, and insists that its stupid ideas are worth taking seriously. The creatures are dumb as hell. They are badly rendered and look pretty shoddy.
The tone of the film is another thing that holds it back. Tries to be dark and edgy as it has some seriously violent imagery and scenes, but is so out there and unrealistic that its seriousness and violence make it laughable. In short, its too dumb for adults and too violent for children, making it very hard to figure out who the target audience is.
The largest positive the film has is the visual style that Del Toro has become known for. He certainly has a trademark way of rendering his films. But once the shiny vi near wears off, you're left with an below average product that doesn't deliver.