Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

katie holmes afraid of dark
Katie Holmes in 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark'

With the great Guillermo del Toro as producer and co-writer, this haunted-house thriller at least makes a claim on artistry. But Pan's Labyrinth it isn't. Blackwood Mansion, where creatures lurk in the basement, doesn't scare nine-year-old Sally (Bailee Madison) at first. She's more focused on being cut off from her architect daddy (Guy Pearce) by his trophy girlfriend (Katie Holmes). Director Troy Nixey lets the atmosphere of the house seep in like rot. And the fact that the whispering creatures feed on human teeth is the ultimate Tooth Fairy nightmare. Yet the film never takes hold emotionally, despite strong work from Holmes and young Madison. With Del Toro's name in the credits, standard chills aren't enough. We want imagination to run riot.

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