Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Vern says "Don't be Afraid of the Dark" is great for kids, but just o.k. for adults.

                              (Theatrical Poster:

"Don't be Afraid of the Dark"

Cast: Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce

Writers:  Guillermo Del Toro, Matthew Robbins. Based on the teleplay by Nigel McKeand

Director:  Troy Nixey

Ages 9 to 14   *** and a 1/2 *'s out of four.

 Ages 14 and up  **'s out of four.

I remember watching "Poltergeist" when I was young and being incredibly scared throughout that movie, but yet loving that rush of excitement.  There were some pretty gruesome moments that would have earned an 'R' rating today, but yet it still remains a perfect family movie that can scare you, but in a fun way. "Don't be Afraid of The Dark"  helps continue this tradition of family friendly horror films, and it's a lot less scarier than that one.  For youngsters this will be a very scary flick and that can be a very fun thing because you are safe inside a movie house.  A lot of parents tend to forget that some horror films are perfectly o.k. for kids.  Being frightened of something is not a bad thing especially when you know that it's all make believe.  I sometimes think we don't treat children with the respect they deserve.

               (Photo: Curtosey of Miramax Films.

In this tale Sally(Bailee Madison) goes to live with her father Alex(Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend Kim(Katie Holmes) in a big Victorian style house that is being renovated.  While living there Sally discovers a room that has been sealed off for centuries.  And for good reason too because inside that room are vicious little creatures that want to terrorize and kidnap our small heroine.

After watching this I was surprised that this garnered an 'R' rating.  There is no bad bad language and all the really violent moments occur off screen.  That's not to say that really small children should be exposed to this, but this is perfectly suitable for children over nine.  They may be covering underneath a blanket and will jump during a few scenes, but it's all done in fun.  If your beyond this age, d.b.a.o.t.d. won't have the same effect on you because you are used to this type of story.  There are some holes in the plot and I found some of the characters' motives to be a bit ridiculous.  Especially Alex saying that his handyman being stabbed in multiple locations was nothing more than a freak accident.   Kids will also forgive some of Sally's actions more than I would.  If I heard a freaky voice coming from the walls, I would not go to investigate it.  I would get the hell out of there.

(Photo: Curtosey of Miramax Films.

I know a lot of you parents out there want to play it safe and not show your kids any scary movies, but whatever happen to that time when being scared as a kid was a fun thing.  I fondly remember watching "A Nightmare on Elm Street" when I was just 11 and being in love with that type of adrenalin rush.  Now that's not to say you should just drop your kids off  at the multiplex to watch this alone.  You should be there to help explain to them that this is all just make believe and that you are there to protect them from any real danger.

 "Don't be Afraid of the Dark" is the perfect movie to introduce kids to the world of horror.  As for the adults who watch this. You might fondly remember the time when a movie first scared you.

This is one of the best horror trailers ever that still causes me to jump even though I have seen it before.