Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

I left just before the end of Troy Nixey's "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" because my annoyance meter had been pinging in the red zone for about an hour and I just couldn't take it anymore.

I feel a little crummy about trashing the movie because the young actress at the center of the film, Bailee Madison (Brothers), is such a trouper and I kinda wanted to see it through but then I thought "Nah. Life is entirely too short." I gave Miss Madison major props for holding her own in Jim Sheridan's "Brothers" (2009), a solid film that starred Tobey McGuire, Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal. In "Dark" Balee is opposite Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce, neither of whom seems to care about the film or their roles in it. I'd heard about actors phoning in their performances but I don't recall ever seeing it done so blatantly. I felt really sorry for young Bailee, not only was she being tortured by greedy little photophobic demons but she was having to carry the whole film on her small back.

But that wasn't even the most irritating bit in the film. I'm wary of films that begin with fearsome epilogues that give you the feeling they're probably scarier than anything in the rest of the movie, or that feature self-medicating 8-year-olds, or a father who introduces his fiancee to the daughter by the woman's first name, or a fiancee who buys a talking bear for the 8-year-old because you know animated stuffed critters are demon magnets, or a caretaker who when asked how he got nearly hacked to bits down in the basement sends said fiancee to the library to look up a book, or the presence of a Polaroid camera with flashbulbs.

But my main beef is the film's title. It's total BS because the entire premise of the film is there is some really bad shit going on in the dark. Don't bother.


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