Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

(R) ★★☆☆☆

Remaking this 1973 made-for-TV movie may have been a miscalculation by producer/co-writer Guillermo del Toro. Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes play a couple renovating a spooky mansion with nasty little neighbors in the basement. Bailee Madison plays Pearce’s daughter, a girl who hears the whispered invitations of the monsters when no one else can. This effort is fairly good at best.

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By Melissa Lafsky, The New York Observer

Scary movies can get away with breaking promises to their audience. They can resurrect exhausted clichés (creepy old houses packed with things bumping in the night) and they can even toss in stale character archetypes (the clueless father, the precocious child who sees things adults don’t). But one crime even the best horror can’t get away with is presenting characters so stupid that we lose all interest in whether they live or die. Which is the heart of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.

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