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Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

HD   R Closed Captioning

Troy Nixey

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About the Movie

Blackwood Manor has new tenants. While architect Alex Hurst and his new girlfriend Kim restore their Gothic mansion's period interiors, Alex’s young daughter Sally—neglected by her real mother and brushed aside by the careerist father—can investigate the macabre history and dark corners of the estate. Spurring Sally's investigation are the voices—rasping whispers who call out to her from the basement, who promise her understanding and friendship, who are so very hungry and would like to be set free. When Sally gives in to her curiosity, she opens a gateway into a hellish underworld from which an army of beady-eyed, sharp-clawed monsters emerge, small in size but endless in number: the homunculi. Confronted with the horror that now threatens to taker her life and destroy her family, Sally desperately tries to warn the whole house, but there's just one problem: no one believes her. Will she make them understand in time, or will they become another chapter in the centuries-long horror story of Blackwood Manor?

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 167
  • Fresh: 98
  • Rotten: 69
  • Average Rating: 5.9/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: There's no denying that his latest monsters are imaginative and detailed creations, but the haunted house-style story is hampered by his desire to show them off. – Ian Buckwalter, NPR, Aug 25, 2011

Fresh: "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" will turn your nerve endings to Popsicles. – Kyle Smith, New York Post, Aug 26, 2011

Rotten: Mr. Nixey is doing an Alfred Hitchcock homage within a movie lacking anything as subversive, or skilled, as Hitchcock. – John Anderson, Wall Street Journal, Aug 25, 2011

Fresh: The film looks good, it sounds great (Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders' score is full of darkly murmuring woodwinds), and Madison is a pip of a lead. – Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, Sep 1, 2011

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews


Next to "Insidious", "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" may just be the one of the most well-crafted, spine-tingling horror movies I've seen all year. The story follows a father named Alex (Guy Pearce) who has just moved into a Gothic 19th century mansion with his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) and his daughter Sally (Bailee Madison). While Sally investigates the macabre history and dark corners of the estate, she becomes fascinated with the mysterious rasping whispers that call out to her from deep within the basement, who promise her understanding and friendship, who complain of hunger and are desperate to be set free. But when she gives into her curiosity, Sally unknowingly opens a gateway into a hellish underworld from which an army of malevolent goblin-like tooth fairies emerge, immediately putting her and her family's lives in grave danger. Although the premise is somewhat cliched and contrived, the initial scares the film produces are tense, surreal, and almost completely unpredictable. What also makes the movie shine are its eerie atmospheric tone and keen sense of visual undertone. But I really have to give it up for Bailee Madison, who steals the spotlight as Sally, our main heroine. She brings so much life and believability to her role, it's a wonder why we haven't seen such talent from her in previous films. Guy Pearce also gives a commendable performance as Sally's work-obsessed father. However, I can't quite say the same for Katie Holmes, whose character often comes across as too straightforward and unconvincing at times. Another slight problem that the movie faces is its deliverance of scares near the climax. By that time, the tone becomes way too erratic than it needs to be and the actions of the characters fall along the lines of predictability. But that's not to say I was disappointed in the end. In fact, I was actually pleased by the production overall. It was dark, unsettling, and even made me jump out of my seat a few times. Trust me, this film is definitely a worthy rental!

Everything A Horror Movie Should Be!

I was a little worried that this movie would turn out to be just another lame, low-budgeted so-called "horror" movie, just like 80% of them out now, but I was pleasantly surprised. Has a dark and eerie atmosphere, a few jump-scares, and over-the-top suspense. The first 5 minutes (before the main titles) are pretty disturbing, and will get you in the mood for what you're about to see. The plot is a lot like some other horror movies, where the parents don't believe the child about what they say, hear, or see. After the main titles, the movie is a little slow, but gradually gets more and more thrilling as it moves along. Did this movie scare me? Not really; nothing really deeply scary, just extremely creepy. Did this movie make me "afraid of the dark"? Let's just say I don't like walking around in my house at night with the lights off anymore. Do I recommend this movie? Definitely, especially if you're a horror fanatic.


I went and seen this movie somewhere around four times, and it never gets old. The plot is fantastic, the characters (and acting) are fantastic, the setting is fantastic, and everything else about this movie is flat out FANTASTIC. I will most DEFINITELY be purchasing this movie (more than likely on blu-ray). I can't get enough of it. The suspense in this movie is outstanding. A must-see for everyone.

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Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
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  • $12.99
  • Genre: Horror
  • Released: 2011

Customer Ratings