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Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Despite the sudden change in temperature fall is still a few weeks away. That said, this sudden chill has certainly livened my lust for horror. Last October I dedicated the entire month to the genre, and every weekend therein I saw a fitting film. This year I plan to attend Toronto’s “After Dark” festival in addition to the mainstream releases, making “Halloween Month” 2011 one for the books.

Luckily, I got a taste of the excitement ahead when I saw “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” on Monday. Written/produced by Guillermo del Toro, (Pan’s Labyrinth & Hell Boy), the film takes its notes from the classic horror it is based upon. Unlike the slasher flicks of the 80’s that are back with a vengeance, Dark is more like Insidious, the story of fear itself. Like Pan’s Labyrinth it exists within the realms of reality and fantasy, and the fear comes from seeing how these worlds have learned to live together.

Like other strong horror films the lead is female, and a child at that. Western values consider the sex weaker, making the scare that much more intense. Bailee Madison (Just Go With It) does a great job portraying the anxieties of her character Sally. Furthermore, Katie Holmes returns to the screen as beautiful as ever, starring as Kim, Sally’s only friend. The setting is a mansion with a past, and the monsters are magical and ancient. It is not the type of horror film that will leave you screaming, but rather thinking. It discusses fear far more than it shoves it in your face, and for that fact it irks me more than any dime-a-dozen fright-fest. Furthermore, it has me eager for the films and arguments that await me in October.

 Straw Dogs is next in line, and everybody is awaiting Paranormal Activity 3. However, the question is… will After Dark be the 2011 festival to beat? As part of my Golden Road I have an award for, “Best Non-TIFF Festival.” So far Bell Lightbox exclusives, “Back to the 80’s” & “Fellini: Spectacular Obsessions,” are in the lead. However, with films like “Redline” and “Love” on the After Dark bill, only time will tell who is crowned by me and My Life at the Movies.


  • Chris Elliott

    Great piece man. This flick sounds amazing. Nat and I were having a conversation pertaining to the absence of really well done horror films as of recent, and since Insidious, neither of us could think of one that recently came out. This looks like it might fit that bill. I’m REALLY excited for Halloween this year, and there is no question that the fall does the same thing to me, with regards to horror films. Thanks for the suggestion and great review. 

    • Anonymous

      If you liked “Insidious” you will LOVE this. It is classic horror to the core. You and Nat should come along in October for a flick or two. 

  • Anonymous

    Really enjoyed this film from a classic horror point of view.  What it lacked in gore and frightening objects flying around it made up for in ambionce, music, filmography and acting.  Glad you enjoyed it, we’ll definetly be renting this later on!
    Chris – you and Nat should go check it out, you would both really like it.

    • Anonymous

      I knew I would like it after your description, but I really LOVED it. Two great horror movies from your camp this year. Can’t wait for another October with you big bro. After all we are “Octobers Very Own” and we got a few horror films to see. Paranormal 3 & Redline for sure!

      • Anonymous

        I am looking forwad to those but am realllyyy looking to see what AFTER DARK has in store.  Hopefully some funky stuff.

        Also would like to see if Rue Morgue has anything on their plate in terms of fests or screenings.

      • Anonymous

        Redline is an After Dark film…. Click on the hyperlink for “After Dark” in the blog to see what they have planned ;)  

        Redline is that animated flick we saw a preview for at the “After Dark” booth at Fan Expo. 

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