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Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Sponsored by: Sympatico.ca

Canadian Premiere

  • Horror
  • /
  • USA / Canada
  • /
  • 2011
  • /
  • 100 min
  • /
  • 35mm
  • /
  • English
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Screening Times

“Especially stylish filmmaking... plenty of jump-out-of-your-seat moments” — John Horn, LA TIMES


Director: Troy Nixey
Screenplay: Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins
Cast: Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes, Bailee Madison, Jack Thompson
Producers: Guillermo del Toro, Mark Johnson, William Horberg, Stephen Jones, Tom Williams
Print Source: Alliance-Vivafilm

Screens with...

The Dungeon Master   

The Dungeon Master

Canadian Premiere
2011 | 13 min
English language



In October 1973, the ABC network debuted a made-for-TV chiller called DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, which in just 74 minutes spawned a generation’s worth of nightmares. Two decades later, an up-and-coming Mexican filmmaker named Guillermo del Toro, fresh off the success of his debut feature CRONOS, pursued and secured the remake rights to the movie that had terrified him as a child. Two decades after that, the new DARK has emerged, co-written and co-produced by del Toro and directed by feature first-timer Troy Nixey, to make audiences afraid all over again.

One of the rare horror remakes that honours what made the original great while bearing the unmistakable personal stamp of the talent revisiting the territory, DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK 2011 is a sort of companion piece to del Toro’s Oscar-winning PAN’S LABYRINTH. This time, “Saaaallllleeeeee” is not the put-upon housewife played by Kim Darby in the tele-version, but the latest in del Toro’s line of preteen protagonists, a young girl portrayed by Bailee Madison. A child of divorce, she comes to stay with her architect father Alex (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) at the ornate and remote Victorian mansion they’re restoring. Lonely for companionship — Alex is distracted by his project, and Kim, well, she’s not her mom — Sally thinks she’s found it when mysterious beings accidentally freed from an ash pit in an uncovered basement begin whispering to her. They’d like nothing more than for Sally to play with them… and be their friend forever…

A true modern Gothic that maintains an old-fashioned atmosphere even as it employs the latest in CG technology, DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK follows squarely in the tradition of del Toro’s previous grim fairy tales. Nixey, a comic-book artist who won attention with his animated/live-action short LATCHKEY’S LAMENT, demonstrates the right spooky chops to complement the weird mythology of del Toro and Matthew Robbins’ script. They keep the creatures hidden in the early going, but the creatures are not about to stay confined to the shadows, and eventually emerge as a swarm of vicious, fast-moving mini-predators. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself nervously wondering what might be scuttling around your feet in the dark of the theatre as you watch…

—Michael Gingold

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