‘Dark’ remake an all-too-familiar creature feature

Bailee Madison in "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" In “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” Sally (Bailee Madison) takes a bath as ancient creatures assault her.

Weirdly enough, the scariest made-for-TV movies ever created come from the 1970s:

1. “The Night Stalker” (1972), with Darren McGavin as a sartorially challenged reporter on the trail of a serial killer he starts to think could be a vampire. It inspired an uninspired sequel (“The Night Strangler”) and a Chicago-based TV series, a precursor of “The X-Files.”

2. “Trilogy of Terror” (1975), a failed TV series pilot starring Karen Black as four characters in three short stories from genre genius Richard Matheson. Forget the first two segments. The last one, “Amelia,” is the classic in which Black’s apartment dweller struggles to survive an attack from a warrior doll.

3. “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” a 1973 thriller that “Pan’s Labyrinth” director Guillermo del Toro thought was so scary when was 9 years old that he grew up to rewrite it and produce it as a theatrical feature starring Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes.

And here it is, director Troy Nixey’s “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” starring Bailee Madison as a little girl who moves into in an old dark house with something evil in the basement.

It’s standard-issue, potboiler plotting, all about Sally (the appealingly realistic Madison), who has no idea there are worse things in the world than having terrible, self-absorbed parents. (Read more…)

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