Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973)
I really hate the idea of remaking classic films. I’m talking Dawn of the Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There was never any reason to touch those, other than to make some easy money off of a recognizable name. Those pictures were already done as best they could have been. To try and “update” it just makes it seem that you think you can do better than the original. And if you’ve seen the remakes of those films, you know that just isn’t the case.
However, there are certain films that could actually benefit from a “re-imagining” or updating. Films like the original The Crazies, which was a good idea that didn’t quite live up to its’ promise. The remake expanded on what had already been delivered and created a much more fulfilling viewing experience. I wish somebody would do the same for the original Troll. It has the potential to be a crazy-fun movie.
Here’s one that is coming soon: Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, a creepy 70’s made-for-TV movie that certainly has a lot of room to grow.
Sally and her husband move into a spooky old house. Sally finds a locked door and after stumbling across the key, discovers a dark study with a sealed up fireplace. The handyman tells her he won’t tear the bricks out because “some things are better left alone”.
Sally is a strong female, though, (womens’ lib, or whatever)so she unscrews the bolts on the side door of the fireplace. Inside is a deep hole and she gives up the idea of having a toasty fire in the study.
Soon, she starts seeing glimpses of small creatures moving about and whispering. Her husband won’t believe her and even accuses the handyman of scaring her.
The mysterious shenanigans grow until the little creatures string a tiny rope in front of the staircase, tripping Sally’s decorator. They apologize, saying they really meant to kill her so they could have her soul. That was nice of them. It must feel good to be wanted.
Will anyone believe her? Will she escape with her life and her sanity? Will I ask more silly questions?
DBAOTD is loaded with creepiness and that is why people still talk about it, to this day. The little creatures whispering and planning is reason enough to want to leave the lights on.
There are problems, though. The story seems rushed and there aren’t any truly likeable characters. Towards the end, you might actually care about Sally’s well being, but not right from the start. A movie shouldn’t expect me to tolerate an idiot just because it decided she was the heroine. As for the feeling that the story is rushed, well…it was. From script to screen, the film was completed in just over two (2) weeks.
None of that stuff can actually stop the movie from getting under your skin, though. The little raisiny-faced monsters scurrying about and fucking with this poor woman’s head is just creepy. So, it’s not really a surprise that Guillermo Del Toro (Chronos, Devil’s Backbone, Pans’ Labyrinth) saw the potential to make an even better movie out of this story. He’s produced a theatrical remake that should be here in 2011. I’m rather looking forward to it.
Rating 2 1/2 out of 5
Nix says: It’s got some problems, but it still has the ability to creep you out.