Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Rated 1.0

An architect (Guy Pearce), his artist girlfriend (Katie Holmes) and his sullen, unpleasant daughter (Bailee Madison) move into a deserted old mansion that is infested with little creatures like something out of a Guillermo del Toro movie—and as it happens, he wrote this one (with Matthew Robbins, based on a 1973 TV movie). The creatures are more laughable than scary, and the plot is groan-worthy. It hinges on a Polaroid camera, of all things in this day and age, which shoots flash after flash without reloading the bulbs like a six-shooter in an old B-western. Troy Nixey’s direction is pedestrian, and the story’s resolution is a guaranteed eye-roller. Pearce and Holmes do their best under the circumstances, but the action centers on young Madison, and unfortunately she’s not a very good actress.