Saturday, September 3, 2011

What I Saw: Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (84th Oscar Race)

What I Saw: Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark

I always find myself wondering why so many horror movies have haunted mansions or haunted castles. Was this a theme that the rich folks started in order to keep the rest of us away from their stuff? Is this a clever ploy to make us poor folks think that we’re better off where we are? (And by poor, I mean everyone not living in a castle or mansion.) Or is it a perverse trick to make us feel sorry for rich people: We may have to deal with the ugliness of this world, but they have to deal with the ugliness of the supernatural world.

Or, conversely, do these haunted mansion films tap into a survival tactic that the rest of us have invented to help us make sense of society’s inequities? Perhaps it’s a narrative way of saying that there are indeed monsters living in those mansions, that the rich themselves are monsters for being so luxurious while the rest of the world is struggling. Or maybe these horror films are a reflection of the fear that we face when we have to enter into spaces or places that are controlled by the rich. Maybe that’s why they always begin with a new tenant moving in.

At any rate, it makes me mad that we are not only losing the class war here in the material world, but the rich get all the ghosts and goblins too.

The first scene of Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark was by far the best part of the movie, and made me think that I may have drastically underestimated this film’s Oscar chances in the Costume and Art Direction categories. But neither the artistry nor the fear carried through to the end. I kept getting the feeling that I had watched all of these scenes before, even though I hadn’t seen the 1973 original. All of your standard horror settings are here: the basement, the bathroom, the garage, even standing in front of a back-lit window. And the music made sure that you were never surprised about when you were supposed to be afraid.

As for the acting, Bailee Madison was better than Katie Holmes or Guy Pearce, but I didn’t feel an attachment to any of them, nor did I really care whether they made it out alive or not.

The only remote possibility for Oscars is in the Visual Effects category (currently ranked 47). I can’t say specifically what the effects were for without giving away spoilers, but let’s just say that it’s for the reasons that you SHOULD be afraid of the dark.

Overall, this was a fairly generic horror flick. I recommend skipping it in the theaters and catching it instead when they replay it on television during Halloween week.

My Lamb Score: 2 out of 5 Lambs
What is a lamb score? Click HERE to learn more.

Read more of my reviews HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment