Those who have peaked at middle age may remember the made for TV film Don’t Be Afraid of the dark, but even if you were alive back then there is a good chance that you don’t. The good news is that in an age where remakes are all the rage, there is a new version of the old tale starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce. The plot follows Pearcem with live-in girlfriend Holmes, as the estranged dad of Bailee Madison who finds that he has to take in his daughter who is used to LA but now must settle for Rhode Island.
The pair is working on renovating a decrepit mansion and Madison is sent to live in a room that is shadowy and creaky. Angry at her mother for forcing her off on her father and horrified that her father may get remarried Madison plays the role of teen Sally perfectly as standoffish and bratish especially when speaking to Holmes. Sally is able to escape a bit however by wondering throughout the mansion where she happens to stumble onto a sealed off basement that contains a furnace.
She is stunned to hear a voice ask her to open up the furnace and set them free, but even though she loosens the bolts she cannot do the trick. There is no need to worry however as the small ratty gnomes are able to get the rest of the way out on their own and escape from the furnace that seems to be their portal from another room. They quickly get to work destroying things from around the home and start to torment Sally who is having a hard time convincing the adults that there are creatures from another world in the house.
However, before too long Katie Holmes starts to research the history of the mansion and believes that maybe there is something supernatural at work in the home, but the question is can they get out of the house before the things of the dark capture Sally and take her back into their world. The main problem with the Guillermo del Toro remake is the fact that like the original, the movie is not all that frightful despite the fact that it has a title that would imply it could give you a good fright.
The whispers and gnomes simply are not all that frightening, and the creatures are even recognizable as rats with abilities that seem to be a bit overrated. After all, how frightening can a rat that kind of can tell you what to do be? For supernatural creatures, they can still be tossed and squashed and the only thing they really want to do is whisper. The plot is also weak because while del Toro is known for his work as is Matthew Robbins, the truth is that they added so many new characters in that it just gets confusing and by the end you are just glad to see it come to a close.
New version trailer
Old version trailer