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Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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5.4

Mixed or average reviews- based on 98 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Sally Hurst, a lonely, withdrawn child, has just arrived in Rhode Island to live with her father Alex and his new girlfriend Kim at the 19th-century mansion they are restoring. While exploring the sprawling estate, the young girl discovers a hidden basement, undisturbed since the strange disappearance of the mansion's builder a century ago. When Sally unwittingly lets loose a race of ancient, dark-dwelling creatures who conspire to drag her down into the mysterious house’s bottomless depths, she must convince Alex and Kim that it's not a fantasy—before the evil lurking in the dark consumes them all. (Miramax Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 35
  2. Negative: 3 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 24, 2011
    88
    This is a very good haunted house film. It milks our frustration deliciously.
  2. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Aug 25, 2011
    75
    Feels retro in all the right ways; it's a bump-in-the-night tale that, if not for the occasional glimpse of a cellphone or reference to Adderall, could have been told decades ago.
  3. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Aug 26, 2011
    67
    Largely a cut-and-paste affair, although useful for that very reason; it provides a glaring reminder that scary movies have evolved, both in terms of style and expectations, but the evolution isn't worth the effort.
  4. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Aug 24, 2011
    58
    Curled up at home with the lights off and DVD player running, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark might be passable fun. Spread over a movie screen, the film's modest ambition gets dwarfed by expectations, especially after paying for a ticket.
  5. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Aug 25, 2011
    50
    None of Mr. del Toro's classy fiddling, however, can improve on the original's marvelously economical scares. But if you've always wondered what the tooth fairies want with all those teeth - or if you just need proof that a terrified Katie Holmes looks not that different from the everyday version - this is the movie for you.
  6. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Aug 25, 2011
    50
    A big part of the problem comes in the casting. Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes - the kind of odd pairing of actors that comes only after your first and second choices have passed - are unconvincing and curiously unsympathetic as the architect Alex and his girlfriend.
  7. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Aug 22, 2011
    38
    Does Katie Holmes's hubby get script-doctoring rights even on her own film projects? That would explain why Troy Nixey's inane Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, co-written and produced by Guillermo del Toro, at times suggests an anti-Rx PSA.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 36
  2. Negative: 9 out of 36
  1. Oct 13, 2011
    10
    creepy and atmospheric
  2. Nov 21, 2011
    8
    It's not a "good" movie. But I was thrilled and scream when I and my sister watch this movie.. I love the ending of this movie but sure predictable. And the actors performance are average. Expand
  3. Sep 4, 2011
    7
    Im a very big Guillermo Del Toro fan, from Hellboy to Blade 2 to Pans Labyrinth, and i dont believe he was the director but he was the producer and screenwriter and i knew that if he was a part of this film it has to be awesome and it was. The movie started off with a good opening scene but then it got pretty slow for the next 20-30 minutes but after that it was great. Quite a few frightening on-the-edge-of-your-seat moments and a few jumps here and their and it turned into a good scary flick. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Very good and shocking ending. Looking for a good scary movie? Or a big Del Toro fan like myself? Then go see this movie, you won't be disappointed 7.5/10 Expand
  4. Aug 29, 2011
    5
    The movie was alright. The premise was good, the storyline was pretty solid. The downfall of this movie for me was that the little monsters weren't scary enough. They were creepy, but not really what I consider scary. del Toro co-wrote the movie, but wasn't the director, and maybe that would have helped some. I was sufficiently creeped out by Pan's Labyrinth and was hoping for similar with this movie. Expand
  5. Jul 13, 2013
    5
    This is not to say that Nixey has done a bad job; more that there is no sense of the director in the film. This film is Del Toro's in story, content and some of the style. But unlike his previous films, this does not have the same depth (this could be because his other work was set in a turbulent historical time.) Certainly, Don't be Afraid of the Dark is extremely entertaining for what it lacks in depth, and the creatures are nasty enough that you wouldn't want to find them hiding in the corners of your basement. This films feels like Pan's Labyrinth light: a lone girl against the monsters with little assistance from her parents, a kindly non-relative who swears to protect her at her own expense, and a creepy wilderness. Without the gravitas, its strengths lie in its better-than-average-horror cast and good scares. Expand
  6. Sep 8, 2011
    4
    This is a pretty typical haunted house scenario. In this case, a girl is pursued by beasties, who turn out to be quite vicious. Of course, her dad (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend (Katie Holmes) don't believe herâ Expand
  7. Aug 27, 2011
    1
    I felt compelled to write this review to warn anyone who is thinking about spending their hard earned money and time watching this film. Absolutely terrible. You have been warned, this movie sucks, really, really, really, really, bad. I have no idea what the critics saw in this film. There was absolutely nothing good about it. Expand

See all 36 User Reviews

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