Thursday, October 27, 2011

“DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK” Movie Review. Is there a Real Need to?



Check the promotional photos.

These pictures spin a thousand woes.

They depict a sense of impending gloom – of long, dark shadows looming within the abyss of a creepy crypt.

The mood is visual perfect.

You will be assailed by a deep tinge of the foreboding, of an overpowering chill that will cause your skin to crawl.

That’s the film director’s intention, to grab the viewer by the balls (metaphorically).

“DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK” is a feature film that is designed to spook you dry.

But first, we will have to draw a differential line between a Western audience and an Asian one.

Let’s hurry over the preamble:

GUY PEARCE plays a workaholic property developer who moves into a rundown Victorian mansion with his new wife (KATIE HOLMES) and young daughter (BAILEE MADISON).

Happiness is all around, until they uncover a vast, sealed-off room in the derelict basement.

Then the ghosts come visiting when strange voices start croaking the little girl’s name.

She is desperately lonely and tries to make friends with the unknown strangers, but they have other devilish ideas in mind.

Unbeknownst to this unsuspecting little family, the former tenants are still in residence: tiny, toothy creatures who whisper within the walls, play in the dark and occasionally sticking out a menacing claw in the direction of its prey.

It goes to state the obvious that kids, no matter how brave they are, would never dare to venture down an eerie basement on their own.

Yet this one did, courtesy of the illogical scriptwriter.

The first half of the yarn plods ever so slowly as a prelude to a build-up, or  you can say it’s a quiet lull before the storm.

This Reviewer fidgets impatiently, whilst waiting for the first ghastly goblin to rear its ugly head to roll the action.

Finally a motley of these goblin sized creatures with long, sinewy limbs and dangerous claws appear, leaving little to the imagination.

Nah, the audiences are not hollering in fright.

Far from that.

In the East, movies pertaining ghosts and ghouls are a dime a dozen – because Asian audiences relish a good scare, as always.  In doing so, they derive the immunity syndrome.

The blood curdling genre has become a staple diet in Asian entertainment, and as the saying goes, too much of a good thing kills.

Blood-sucking demons and vicious spirits are purely, a subject of mind-over-matter.

“DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK” has a testy title.

Directed by TROY NIXEY, it treads on a well-worn theme of a awe-inspiring dwelling that harbors evil spooks.

But it has little to offer in the scare department apart from the strong moods that will transport the viewer through occasional moments of levity and sequences of nerve-shattering suspense.

KATIE HOLMES and GUY PEARCE are gifted performers wasted in a film that does not fully tap their potential.

Take heed of the dark though.

What’s lurking in the shadows may not be what  you are looking for.

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