Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Rated 4.0

Taking a little-remembered made-for-TV movie from the ’70s, producer Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) and first-time director Troy Nixey deliver a remake that justifies its existence. The film is a throwback to the classical approach to horror, with a foreboding old dark house and the sinister secrets that threaten those that cross its threshold. Here we have Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes as yuppies stepping out of their milieu to restore a rustic manor. Joining them is Pearce’s young daughter, dumped on him by an ex. Of course, kids being predisposed to getting into all sorts of trouble, the daughter inadvertently unleashes a swarm of grim li’l creatures that have one sinister agenda in mind. It’s familiar territory, but handled with a fondness for the material. Del Toro’s influence is obviously in play here, with an art-house eye for atmosphere and subtext. Eschewing the post-music video approach to editing and pacing, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark utilizes a slow build to the escalation of events, but is savvy enough to interject scares in measured doses throughout. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated R