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Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Review

Movies.com Critics

3.0

Dave White Profile

No, actually, you kind of should. Read full review

4.0

Grae Drake Profile

Warning: May cause an increase in your electric bill Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    56

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 42

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Neither colorfully brutal nor especially fun. It's a plodding, derivative gothic potboiler: "The Shining" meets "Coraline," with a touch of "Gremlins" played (boringly) straight.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    This insipid wannabe frightener features a checklist of derivative conventions.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal John Anderson

    Mr. Nixey is doing an Alfred Hitchcock homage within a movie lacking anything as subversive, or skilled, as Hitchcock.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    The result is a scary movie that is genuinely scary in parts, although an adult can't help noticing this is set in the very worn and tattered territory of the haunted-house genre. Then when you get a glimpse of the CGI critters causing all the mayhem, the scares completely vanish.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Don't Be Afraid of the Dark reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Scary remake features some gore and a young girl in danger.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this horror movie -- a loose remake of a 1973 made-for-TV movie -- focuses on a tween girl who accidentally releases dozens of hungry, scary creatures into an old house. She's often in danger, and although the movie is less bloody than other horror flicks, there are a few extremely gory sequences in which adult characters are disfigured and murdered (slashing, heads bashed, etc.), and the movie's overall tone/feel makes it very scary and suspenseful. Language is extremely mild for an R-rated movie ("hell" is about the worst of it), and an adult couple is seen kissing, with off-screen sex implied.

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. What's the impact of the gory sequences? Are they scarier than the more suspenseful/tense scenes? Why or why not?
  • Are either of the grown-ups in this movie role models? Can either of them make an actual connection with Sally when she needs it most?
  • What makes the little creatures so scary and/or creepy? Is a movie like this more or less scary than a story in which humans hurt each other, rather than creatures?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The main point here is probably "curiosity killed the cat" (or "don't go in the basement"). But a little girl does learn to open herself up -- she starts out sad and shy and ends up stronger ... though it takes a horrifying experience and a terrible loss to get to that point.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: A little girl eventually begins to show bravery after bonding with her father's new girlfriend. The girlfriend shows a great deal of empathy and patience for the lost, sad, daughter; their mutual bond makes them both stronger.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Most of the movie concentrates on suspense and the threat of violence rather than lots of gore (which doesn't make it any less scary), but at least three scenes are quite graphic, with bloody teeth-pulling, head-bashing, leg-breaking, creature-squishing, stabbing, and slashing. Other scenes show a little girl in danger, with the terrifying potential of harm. A couple gets into heated arguments.

  • sex false2

    Sex: An adult couple is seen kissing. They begin (presumably) making love, but it happens off camera. Some giggling/kissing sounds are heard through an air vent.

  • language false1

    Language: Mild language includes "hell," "poop," and "Jesus" (as an exclamation).

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: A young girl wears Converse high-top "Chuck Taylor" shoes.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The girl in the movie takes some kind of prescription medication in one scene. There's also a brief discussion about the girl's (unseen) mother using medication to solve problems.

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