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Nordling Says DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK Knows How To Scare You!

Nordling here.

With his debut feature film Troy Nixey has proven one thing with DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK - he knows how to orchestrate the slow build.  This movie is in no hurry to diffuse any tension; from the first scene to the final, haunting voiceover, Nixey tightens the screws ever so slightly, and before the audience realizes it they're cowering under the seats.  But that slow build comes at a price.  There are stretches of the film that you want to take some of the characters and give them a good shake, especially Guy Pearce's father character, who seems oblivious to the entities terrorizing his daughter Sally (Bailee Madison).

These entities are Troy Nixey's great achievement in DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK.  Not only are they effectively scary, you actively root against them quickly.  No sympathy for the monster here, except in a vague way when their origins are revealed towards the end; these little creatures are truly evil and have no redeeming qualities.  They live deep within the Blackwood house, a house that Alex (Pearce) and Kim (Katie Holmes) are trying to restore so they can sell and make a profit and perhaps get out of debt.  Alex brings Sally along after her Hollywood mother dumps her on him.  He genuinely loves Sally but doesn't know her very well, and in these strange surroundings Sally comes to face the strange creatures that seem to live between the walls of Blackwood Manor.  Only the caretaker (Jack Thompson) seems to understand what's going on, but he meets with a mysterious accident.  Once the creatures are released from the cellar, they haunt Sally with a fierce determination.  No one believes her, but Kim begins to sense the strange happenings occurring in the house aren't simply from Sally's vivid imagination.

DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK is rated R, but it shouldn't have been.  It's the lightest R imaginable, and while there are definitely scary moments and some disturbing imagery, I doubt anyone older than 12 would be overly traumatized by the film.  But the film is strongest when we see the terrible things that are happening through Sally's eyes.  Her fear is palpable and we fear along with her.  Bailee Madison's performance is very good; she is relatable, precocious, and funny, but we empathize with her as well when things start to go bad.  She plays a sad child trying to figure out her place in her father's life, and this new woman isn't helping matters either.  As Sally and Kim slowly bond, the creatures become more overt in their manner and it becomes obvious that they want Sally to join them.  Kim becomes protective of Sally and their relationship feels genuine in the film.

The fears of a child are not complex, in comparison to the fears of adults.  In the film Alex and Kim sweat over finances, whether or not they'll be able to pull off the restoration and get money out of the deal; they are afraid for Sally's well-being and are unsure whether her terrors are simply psychological.  But Sally knows the truth.  There are monsters, and they want to take her away.  Nixey is very adept at giving us that point of view so that Sally's fears become our fears.  It also helps that the creature design is so well done - the creatures are pale white and wrinkly, and they aren't playful in their behavior like many other monsters of this type - they mean to hurt you.  The film plays like a child's fever-dream and is fairly relentless in building the stakes.  The script, by Guillermo Del Toro and Matthew Robbins, hits all the right and creepy marks, especially in an opening sequence that had the audience cringing.  Del Toro knows how to do this kind of thing in his sleep, and without spoiling the ending, let's just say that it definitely feels like something he came up with. 

If there's anything negative to say about the film it's that the slow burn of the tension in the film may not be enough for more attention-addled audience members.  There are moments in the middle that drag, especially once it's established that Sally is under serious threat.  Her frustration that no one believes her becomes the audience's as well.  Although the movie isn't slow, it's in no hurry to get to where it wants to go either.  Also, the film suffers from most films like this in that most of us in that situation would have left much more quickly.  But the fun of the film is watching these creatures wreak havoc with the people in the house and there are some genuinely thrilling and scary moments.  It's what you don't see that is also terrifying, and Nixey, like many great horror directors before him, understands that it's what fills the inner theater of the audience's mind that truly frightens.  It's all about the creaking floorboard, the furtive shadow moving across the room, and in that aspect, Nixey excels.  As far as first films go, DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK is a hell of an achievement for Troy Nixey, who has a great eye and wrings as much suspense as he can out of the premise.  Good scares have been rare this summer, and for the most part, DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK delivers.

Nordling, out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 24, 2011, 5:53 p.m. CST

    Del Toro FTW!

    by irishraidersfan

    Er, except he didn't direct it. Hate posters that headline a producer!

  • That's not a negative of the movie, it's a negative of the dumb fucks with attention-addled problems. Sicn wwhen a movie has to justify itself to the idiot retards in the audience? Since never, that's what. Attention-addled fucks can go fuck themselves up in their fucking asses.

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 5:53 p.m. CST

    Oh, and first, as it seems the US is asleep...

    by irishraidersfan

    That is all...

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 5:56 p.m. CST

    The problem with changing the focus to a kid...

    by FluffyUnbound

    SPOILER the original TV movie, at least as I remember it, the creatures WIN. They successfully drag the lady down the fireplace and you get the idea that their number has been increased by one. I can't really see a 2011 film doing that to a child, so I have to assume there's no real jeopardy because the creatures can't win.

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 5:59 p.m. CST

    The original is in fact kinda scary.

    by FluffyUnbound

    Although Contagion looks like a must-see to me. I am totally there.

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 6:07 p.m. CST

    Huh, azultool, really?

    by D.Vader

    You're going to pass judgment on people who get scared at the movies? Are you also the type who believes if you cry because of a movie you're a "retard" too?

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 6:08 p.m. CST

    I have the original on VHS and watch it all the time

    by solitaire

    ...and you know what? It really isn't that good. it scared the shit out of me as a little kid, as did trillogy of terror, but it did not age well. I watch it out of a sense of nostalgia and have been hoping for years someone would remake it and do it justice. This is the thing that makes Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark compelling: The IDEA is great, and the concept is what I remember loving more than the film itself. Seeing The guy who played Twiki in a shitty halloween mask isn't scary. The idea of these ancient tiny creatures trapped in the fireplace and let loose - THAT'S scary. Del Toro has never let me down, and from what I have heard he was sheppard on this the way Spielberg was on poltergiest. Also, Rhode Island is creepy. Don't know what it is, but Lovecraft tapped into it and setting it there is a small gift from Del Toro until some studio gets off its ass and sees At The Mountains Of Madness could well be one of the all time great horror films.

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 6:19 p.m. CST

    attention addled

    by frankenfickle

    indicates a person has been rendered confused by an overabundance of attention.

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 6:33 p.m. CST

    Very interesting....a SLOW build you say?

    by AlienFanatic

    I'm one of those old farts who happen to like films that take their time to build the tension. Too many films in recent memory substitute quick cuts, shaky cam, and gallons of blood to gross out their audience, but I haven't found a single film frightening in decades. It's nice to see GDT and his stable of hired hands attempt to bring back real, honest-to-goodness horror films again. Now, if he could JUST get the backing to make ATMOM or even HB3.... Fingers, legs, and toes crossed for Pacific Rim.

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Don't Be Afraid of the Homo

    by Nabster

    married to Katie Holmes. I will see this, but the trailer wasn't too great.

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 7:35 p.m. CST

    If you insult people online, you are a "brotard".

    by 3774

    Symptoms of chronic brotardism include stating inane personal opinions as facts, needlessly vulgar language, personal insults in an impersonal forum, and use of words like 'fag', 'cunt', and of course, 'retard'. A feverish, seemingly-masturbatory love for Michael Bay can be a qualifying symptom as well. Should you encounter such a thug-like troll, avoid feeding their insatiable ego with responses. Eventually they will become distracted by their penis and wander away from the conversation. Thank you.

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 7:43 p.m. CST

    I found it scary...

    by Flames gotta Eat

    Saw it last week. I'm in my late 20s and it scared me, I love good haunted house type flicks and this is one of them. I loved it. It's great old-school horror that we don't see nearly enough of today. I agree with Nordling's review but I'm even more positive on it, the "drag" in the middle didn't bother me as much. I liked the pace and build up. Please keep in mind though, this is not art film slow, I've seen so much "slower" than this film, it's just "slower" than most idiotic new horror. Malick's Tree of Life could be considered slow, Dont be Afraid isn't close to something like that. GREAT FUCKING FILM!! Please support it. I fear the R rating will just hurt it financially. I only found out the rating after seeing it and I was surprised it wasn't PG-13, I dont believe the R is justified.

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 7:44 p.m. CST


    by kaylum

    *spoiler warning* Not sure if f Del Toro had any input other than producing, but I don't think he'd be afraid to have the kid get it in the end.

  • Believe me the ending is dark, just maybe not in the way you're expecting. They don't puss out though.

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 7:53 p.m. CST

    OK cool.

    by FluffyUnbound

    Now I am a little intrigued.

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 8:03 p.m. CST

    Cant wait to see it

    by shawn rhoades

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 8:19 p.m. CST

    I don't know what it is, but, horror movies

    by ewokstew

    with little, toothy creatures as the antagonists just never seem scary to me. Satanic that scares me because it's so much of an X factor. Evil CGI critters...meh..

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 8:25 p.m. CST

    This film sucks cock, and not in the good way

    by Winston Smith

    This film is just downright terrible. Guy Pearce does his best Mark Wahlberg impression, the film isn't scary (little CGI rat things just ARE NOT scary), it's full of plot holes, especially near the end, and yeah... D+

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 8:25 p.m. CST

    Contagian, on the other hand

    by Winston Smith

    Is fucking brilliant.

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 8:50 p.m. CST


    by DepressedDonkey

    ...looks like shit. They've already done this. It was called Outbreak and it featured monkeys instead of birds. OOoooohhh, scary! /sarcasm

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 10:58 p.m. CST

    This is the first positive review I've read

    by Fridge

    No surprise, Harry's gotta support his "friends."

  • Aug. 24, 2011, 11:33 p.m. CST

    I figured it was full of quick cuts and jump scares.

    by frankenberry

    The TV ads make the film look full of quick cuts and jump scares. Surprised to learn the film actually takes its time with building suspense.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 12:22 a.m. CST

    The whispers in the tv spots

    by Clara Roberts

    Just caught a tv spot the other day and just hearing the demons or whatever they are whispering "huuuuungry" was just unsettling in such a good way. I hope this does well, just because it'd be nice to see a horror film that doesn't have to bank on being 3D *coughcoughSharkNightcoughcough* to be entertaining.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 12:54 a.m. CST

    I want it to be like THE ORPHANAGE.

    by blackwood

    Insofar as it is smart, and slow, and bothers with character. Horror needs to be a good story with good characters to be in any way effective. Everything else is just... viscera.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 1:04 a.m. CST

    sounds better than House of the Devil

    by mrgray

    It sounds like shit actually, you know, HAPPENS in this movie. Unlike one-questionable-hit-wonder Ti West's exercise in tedium.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 2:01 a.m. CST

    How about a new version of SATAN'S TRIANGLE?

    by Gorgomel

    I had nightmares when I was a kid and I still remember the shocking ending to this day.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 2:42 a.m. CST

    Slow buildups are cool

    by Keith

    Nobody dies in "Alien" until 55 mins into the movie. Almost the entire first hour is spent setting the scene, building up atmosphere and fomenting a sense of dread. And it's fucking magnificent. Ditto for "The Thing" (almost exactly at the 55 min mark). Again, fantastic movie. Horror movies are almost always weakened by playing their hand too early.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 2:58 a.m. CST

    This movie looks very good

    by CuervoJones

    This is my kind of shit.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 3:48 a.m. CST

    by korahn

    The trailers just make the movie seem like "jump-scare" shlock. If there's ACTUALLY decent build-up and multi-dimensional characters, I might enjoy it.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 3:52 a.m. CST

    Del Toro - how many GREAT movies has made. Really.

    by HarryBlackPotter

    Erm...let me count on ONE hand. Pan's Labyrinth. That it. And that was 5 years ago! Sorry, don't get the love AT ALL. Sure, he's a good director, has a good eye, but how many movies, great, classic movies has he made. Sure, there's Blade 2, Hellboy 1 & 2, Cronos, Devil's Backbone, Mimic. All of these ARE NOT great movies. Good but far from great. Oh, and he produced Kung Fu Panda. Awesome. All we get from Del Toro is TALK. "Yeah, I'm gonna do Frankenstien. I'm gonna do Haunted Mansion. I'm gonna do In the Mouth of Madness. I'm gonna do Breakdance 3: Electric Fuckadoo." I know he was prepping the Hobbit then jumped ship when the cash wasn't there, but I'm just tired of hearing Del Toro's name linked to projects like he's Hitchcock or Spielberg. Sorry, he ain't in that league. Not yet. Not by a long shot. Hell, he aint even in M. Night Shyamalan's company because at least Shyamalan ACTUALLY DIRECTS movies.

  • Yeah, you're right, I'm so tired of the overdone disease genre. Can we get a superhero movie or something original? JEEZ. Also, you're a moron. Outbreak is a goofy piece of shit. But yes, let's judge movies you (clearly) haven't seen. Moronity is the greatest disease of all.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 4:17 a.m. CST

    I live in Rhode's not really that creepy bro

    by ajt2111

    We have 2 malls 3 Showcase Cinemas(2 are at the malls, and an Imax also in one of the malls) A whole shit load of nightclubs, bars up the ass, beautiful beaches... We have a whole shit load of stuff and it's all very close together, the whole state is less than an hour across. Sure we have like, the ladd school, google it. But honestly, it's a pretty modern, normal, state. There is a lot of nature, but I wouldn't describe it as creepy. Maine seems a lot creepier to me. Nah, Rhode Island is a cool place man, of course every once in a while Cthulhu awakens and brings forth a terror that is beyond human comprehension, but other than the dark lord, I would recommend a visit here.

  • Or maybe you should just watch the "horror" movies made by Platinium Dunes.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 4:22 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    Even if Del Toro only made ONE GREAT MOVIE, that would be ONE MORE then the vast majority of the carrer of most filmmakers. It so happens that Del toro also made another great movie, called THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE. And don't derise the fact he "only" made two great movies. That's two more then most filmmakers can brag about. And Cronos is also very good as well. And who cares if one made a good movie 5 years ago or 10 years ago or 20 years ago? Great movies are eternal, it doens't matter when they were made, they will always be relevant. So, your point was?

  • It's not that it's not possible to make an effective horror movie by exposing your hadn very early in the film. sometimes that can be achieved to great results. Like in THE HOST, where the movie shows off the monster less then 10 minutes inot the film,and show it off in all it's glory in plain daylight. But it takes a lot of directign talent to pull it offf. By the same token, it takes a lot of talent to make an effective build up horror movie. I guess my point is it takes talent to make a good horror movie. Or any other type of good movie for that matter. Horror movie making is not just throw a lot of blood to the walls and see if it sticks to the audiences or making "boo" noises. Unfortunatly, recent horror is so filled with that it seems it lost it's edge.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 6:42 a.m. CST

    asimovlives - Del Toro = Del Monte

    by HarryBlackPotter

    You put a directors name above a movie or the star at least, NOT the producer. So, in essence, Del Toro has become a brand; a desperate selling feature for clueless marketers. Pan's Labyrinth is Del Toro's only great movie. Maybe if he hadn't been spending time in Middle Earth he might have knocked out another, but until I see him direct another "great" movie I stand by what I said.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 7:02 a.m. CST

    I'd rather have the original on blu ray..

    by darthwaz1


  • Aug. 25, 2011, 7:07 a.m. CST

    Spooky does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Loved THE OTHERS, loved THE ORPHANAGE, if this film is in that caliber then I will be happy. However haunted house movies have to be tight, they cant cheat the audience too much, and the talkbacker above who says its full of plot holes worries me. Plot holes in a slow-burn film of this genre and the whole thing unravels like a wooly jumper.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 7:13 a.m. CST


    by QuietMan297 stole my post! How did you know what I was going to write, word for word? Seriously, yes, Attention-addled fucks can go get nicely Ozzed. No more coddling! But defending The Devil's Backbone to some folks in this crowd may be a no-win , as it is actually a serious, very nuanced piece of storytelling — dare I say multi-layered? — that does require a degree of focus and attention on the part of its viewer, richly rewarding for those who do focus and pay attention. @ azultool — I feel so sorry for you. You miss the point of movies, and feel the need to prove it by insulting people who get it. Do you avoid sunlight, troll?

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 7:47 a.m. CST

    At least all of Del Toro's movies are "good".

    by welcometothepartypal

    "Devil's Backbone" and "Pans" were great. How many director's can say all their movies are at least good to great? Not that many. I'll give this a spin on Blu-ray, only because of him(hard to get to the theater's with 2 little ones) Speaking of scary, finally got the house to myself, turned off all the lights and watched "Paranormal Activity" for the first time last thursday. Love being scared, and that movie, alone in my house scared the hell out of me! That hasn,'t happened in years. I loved every paranoid sound I heard in my sleep for the next week.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 7:47 a.m. CST


    by DepressedDonkey

    This must be your first time being here at AICN. This shit happens ALL THE TIME!! I bet you've never made a judgment about a movie from the preview... ah, never, right? Go fuck yourself.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 8:33 a.m. CST

    Sorry Cobes, it's not as good as either

    by white_vader

    The Others or especially The Orphanage. Oh Well. And it's actually Nixey's direction that is the contributing factor. The kid is all "acting kid" and I don't think Nixey has ever met or even been a kid in his life. Even if kids are intelligent and articulate from being around adults, their emotional reactions are never like grownups. The kid has some ridiculous lines and reactions, and seeing as she's pretty much the main character, it ruins things a bit. Oh well.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Oh and they ruin one of the best moments again

    by white_vader

    … by putting it in the trailer.

  • I'm afraid to see this movie simply because at least half of the horror, for me, would be coming straight from their financial situation. Every time a monster wrecks a staircase railing or some crown molding or something, I'd just be shrinking farther and farther into my chair. There is just no way the movie will end with the house being intact, attractive, and unpossessed enough for them to sell it at a fair price. They're just going to sink even deeper into debt. And maybe one of them dies or they lose the kid or something, I dunno. But THE MONEY, dear God the money. That actually makes me curious if haunted house films do better or worse during housing crises...

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 9:17 a.m. CST


    by solitaire

    Yeah, I live in the town The Myst is supposed to take place in, and Maine can be very creepy. Now and again we have towns of vampires and the occasional homicidal car or prom queen, but it just adds to the over all flavor of the place. I actually love RI, I find New England and the surrounding areas to have the same haunted feel, it's the combination of literature, history, folklore and my own overactive imagination.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 9:20 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    White_V, but Nordling says the kids performance is very good. But then again Nordling is the least critical critic writing today. Dude would probably praise the texture and scent of a shit sandwich if you fed it to him. I trust the Vader. ps. any news on Fury Road?

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Fear is never make believe...

    by Martin

    Really? that's kind of a stupid movie tagline The trailer really does nothing for me.

  • Its amazing! Im excited! It was the quality of the script. TOM 2.0 then shuts down for the night and reboots at 5:30 Am for situps.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 11:41 a.m. CST

    All GDT films are good?

    by runfoodrun

    That is like your opinion, man. Don't get the love. Backbone was unwatchable, Pan's solid, but what a huge miss on a great premise. Yep, my opinion, man.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 11:53 a.m. CST

    @ Cobra...

    by 3774

    The rains have turned the shooting location a lush green, forcing them to pack up and find another place to film. http:// 21385/-mad-max-4-no-longer-doing-broken-hill My boyfriend was excited about the car for some reason. i think it's the original or something...

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Ah, the good old days...I'm sure the ratings board nowadays

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    would rate Jaws with an R rating. It was released with an "M" rating with the subtext "may be too intense for younger children".

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 12:30 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Thanks pink_apocalypse... I'm really hoping George Miller will create his masterpiece.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 12:31 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Thanks pink apocalypse. Im really hoping George Miller will create his masterpiece.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 12:32 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Im hoping so hard it came out twice!

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 2:42 p.m. CST


    by shodan6672

    The Devil's Backbone and Cronos were also great films. Hellboy 2 came damn close as well (in a lot of ways it felt like a continuation of Pan's Labyrinth ).

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 3:23 p.m. CST

    Apparently, Nick Nunziata of Chud produced this

    by Nabster

    Some people are acting very sketched out by this piece of information. Many are wondering how this happened.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 4:13 p.m. CST

    Do any teenagers did horribly in this?

    by cookylamoo

    Otherwise not interested.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 4:47 p.m. CST

    don't trust nordling

    by animas

    he seems to like everything like harry does.

  • And many people cna make a very convincing case that Del Toro's first movie, CRONOS, is also a great movie as well. Basically, the best way to detect Del Toro's great movies is simply to find all those which are spoken in spanish. The directing style he uses for his spanish language movies is so different form his american movies it's as if they were made by a different guy altogether. I would even venture to say that the real Del Toro is the guy who made those spanish language movies.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 5:13 p.m. CST

    The House of the Devil is fantastic.

    by imagin78

    That film is the only time in my adult life that I actually had to stop watching a movie for a minute due to the tremendous ability of the director to ratchet tension.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 5:36 p.m. CST

    Gorgomel- Good call on Satan's Triangle

    by Carl's hat

    Excellent call my friend. You're right about that ending (Doug McClure-tv movie legend). And it's about time we had a new big screen movie set in The Bermuda Triangle.

  • Aug. 25, 2011, 7:47 p.m. CST

    The House of the Devil was fantastic.

    by 3774

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 12:50 a.m. CST

    re: House of the Devil

    by mrgray

    First of all, asimovlives, you can hop right off your little high horse. "Why don't you go watch Platinum Dunes remakes?" Why don't you address my actual criticism? Tell me, anyone who responded to my call out, what ACTUALLY HAPPENS in that movie? What was "tense" about it? How about that one time the housesitter danced around listening to her walkman? oooh, I remember that! Scaaaary! Or when she waited for the pizza guy? *gasp*!!! It's a very detailed, very "accurate" representation of the look of a late 70s/early 80s slow-burn cult movie or babysitter movie. But, again, nothing happens. And don't bullshit me with the guy who does the thing with the gun (trying to avoid spoilers here). Watch that movie again. Tell me A) how long between the initial meeting of the homeowners and that scene takes B) what tension leads up to that moment and how it affects the movie (here's a hint: it doesn't, because housesitter girl doesn't know about it and dude doesn't show up again until the fucking END OF THE MOVIE) C) what else happens until the end of the movie that's even remotely dramatic? See, asimovlives, I can actually present an argument. Bombastic, perhaps, but clearly I've seen the film and clearly I'm not just whistling Dixie. This is the problem with many horror fans. They'll jump on the bandwagon of anything "different", regardless of whether it's actually GOOD, because they so desperately want the genre to be healthy. More skepticism of hype would do the fandom good. (And yes, I count myself in that company)

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 1:17 a.m. CST

    'House of the Devil' was empty-hearted hipster rubbish

    by Sepulchrave

    I've never cared less, been more bored, experienced less tension, felt less mood and hated a director more than the prancing little v-t-shirted neckbeard who made that stupid, smug, poorly paced sack of crap.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 1:53 a.m. CST

    'House of the Devil' was STUPID.

    by SpaghettiWall

    'House of the Devil' has some of the most god-awful writing that would make the films it's paying homage to seem like Mamet. And it was about as scary as rubbing your dick over Scarlet Johannsen's tits.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 2:48 a.m. CST

    I really enjoyed it.

    by Alan Smithee

    Got to see an advanced screening, and my friends and I liked it a lot. If I had to describe it easily, I'd say that it's Gremlins, if it took itself seriously. That might turn some people off, but I had a good time.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 6:06 a.m. CST

    House of the Devil was good?!

    by spire_walk

    The movie had me hooked with its cheap, late-night TBS late '70s-early '80s feel, and there was definitely tension at the beginning.... ....but then nothing. When it was finally time to deliver, it fell flat on its face. I was expecting something more frightening, I guess. The director was writing a check he just couldn't fucking cash. Kudos to the monkey wrench ending though, I honestly did like that. Pan's Labrynth. I love the over the top violence that comes from out of nowhere in this movie. I love that it's bleak. The fucking scene in the underground banquet hall with the monster that has eyes on its hands is one of the most effective moments ever. How-the fuck-ever, the Fascist bad guy is retardedly stupid. Unrealistically evil and unrealistically stupid. Completely ruined the movie for me. Oh yeah, and how apparently the communists must have won the Spanish Civil War, and how they were the good guys. Yeah, good luck with that piece of historic revisionism. There were no fucking good guys in 1930-40s Spain. To be honest, the fascists were probably better off winning when it comes to who can kill more of its own people. Now on to Don't Be Afriad of a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood.... Does anyone else find CGI completely unfrightening? Because, that seems to be my biggest problem with Don't Be Afraid of the Long Title for a Movie. Every time I see it, it yanks me out of the moment.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 6:57 a.m. CST

    asimovlives = let me spell it out to you. You are a P.R.I.C.K.

    by HarryBlackPotter

    You complete and utter waste of skin and organs. Don't you rant at me because I don't share you opinions. You complete peice of shit. Fuck you.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 7:40 a.m. CST

    You complete and utter waste of skin and organs.

    by Carl XVI Gustaf

    Wooop! Happy Friday everyone!

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 9:09 a.m. CST

    @ thebrickwithouse...

    by 3774

    Ebert called it an 'introduction for some audience members to the Hitchcockian definition of suspense', and i agree. To me it felt a LOT like a Mario Bava film, which automatically tilted it more to my liking out of the gate as well (i own a LOT of Italian horror. It's got something like 85% positive reviews on RT, so i would tend to dismiss overly-negative reviews as typical mouth-breather hate for a lack of gore. Really looking forward to Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, and not just for the deliciously-Giallo-sounding title. i just hope there isn't overuse of CGI - my biggest complaint in movies today.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 10:21 a.m. CST


    by mrgray

    While I agree that gorehounds can be overly devoted to their love of grue, 85% positive on RT and a thumbs up from Ebert don't *automatically* make HotD a good movie. Ebert cites Hitchcock, but I think he makes an error in judgment. In a Hitchcock suspense film, the suspense generally leads to an event. spire_walk nailed it: there's suspense in the first act, certainly. You get the impression that something bad is going to happen. But that suspense isn't *paid off*. Which to me is the key difference between Ti West and Hitchcock. Hitch would pay that shit off, then start building to the next beat. HotD contains, at most, 3 beats. And that's just insufficient for a horror movie. I think a great number of the positive reviews for HotD come from critics (and fans) who are tired of the unsubtle torture porn we've had to endure the last few years, the bad Platinum Dunes remakes, to a lesser extent the CG-heavy Asian horror remakes, etc. So they cling to HotD because, again, it's "different". And for mainstream critics, the lack of overt gore and violence makes it more approachable. But that doesn't make it good. Nor does it qualify HotD for the ridiculous hype surrounding the movie. I mean, how hard would it have been to show someone watching the housesitter during that scene when she's dancing to her walkman? I was hoping that entire sequence that she was going to see someone watching her, or she was going to stumble onto something horrible, or... well... *something* was going to happen. But it didn't. HotD is filled with moments like that, and the cumulative effect is that nothing reads as scary. Because nothing is happening.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 11:21 a.m. CST

    i agree with your assessment of horror today...

    by 3774

    ...just not your opinion of this movie. The whole point of those type of horror movies (HotD) for me is the anticipation itself, in waiting for something to happen, rather than the payoff. And that's especially true for an intimate little indie affair, for me personally. It's like a sort of emotional / psychological 'edging' for me, if you'll permit the crude analogy. Any release just spoils the experience, and the longer it holds off, the better. i felt like House's ending was positively 'bat-shit' over-the-top, as they say. It felt perfect to me. If anything, the killing in the car came a little too abruptly, making me fear that the movie was going to veer into generic violent killer territory. But it didn't, thankfully. i dunno. i liked it a lot. But i respect your opinion too. It's just different tastes. And torture porn is a blight on horror today.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 9:34 p.m. CST

    more pink: hype doesn't help

    by mrgray

    I said this about The Dark Knight and Inception, as well. When everyone and their mother insists that something is great, you go in with heightened expectations. Of course it's not the fault of HotD that I was expecting more out of it. That's the fault of horror fandom, who largely went apeshit over it. What kills me (as anyone who has ever read my rants about TDK and Inception knows) is that fandoms tend by and large to vehemently defend the hot property without discussion or consideration of alternate reads of the material and label naysayers, however well-intentioned or well-spoken, as idiots. So thanks for the respect. It was far more than I was afforded by asimovlives. And torture porn has its place, particularly when it's well done (original Last House, for instance). It just too often is poorly done and we've had a glut of it.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 11:05 p.m. CST

    i hear you on expectations...

    by 3774

    ...would you believe me if i told you i had never heard of HotD until the day we strolled by and saw it advertised in the indie theatre window? i went inside and asked about it, something to the effect of, 'hey, i'm pretty up on horror movies in general, and i've never heard of this growing up'. They told me in was new, not old, so we bought tickets and saw it cold, no preview, reviews or expectations at all. Maybe that's why it hit me so well. Dunno. i do think the spoiler stuff has gone way over the wall here, almost like it's a desperate attempt to stay relevant or something. i'm staying out of Avengers news and such from now on. i don't really count the older stuff as torture porn, because it was as much tension based as gore based. That's not the case with most mod stuff like the Saw series. Last House (the original) was very well done, but i could never watch it again. i have extreme difficulty with graphic, realistic rape scenes for personal reasons. That doesn't apply to unrealistic, absurd grindhouse schlock, which i find cartoon-y more than upsetting. Serious stuff is difficult. A friend has my back and warns me away from some things, so i don't have to find out the hard way. The last one was Irreversible. Apparently there's something in it she thinks i wouldn't cope with well, so i haven't watched it. i think we've run into a glut of cgi-driven spook movies as well. When done right, they really work. i'm really hoping that's the case with Don't Be Afraid, and i don't end up throwing it on the 'forgettable' pile.

  • Aug. 27, 2011, 8:43 a.m. CST

    That little girl is a fantastic actress: see her in 'Brothers'

    by Sepulchrave

    The scene at the birthday party is awesome. Plus she's lovely, in a normal little girl way, not some gurning, dental-horror freakshow of a Disney Club graduate.