- Cast: Bailee Madison, Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes, Alan Dale, Julia Blake, Emelia Burns, Jack Thompson, Nicholas Bell, Eliza Taylor, Dylan Young, Garry McDonald, Edwina Ritchard, James Mackay, Lisa N Edwards, Gabriela Iturrizaga, Ande Orbach
- Director: Troy Nixey
- Writers: Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins, Nigel McKeand
- Producers: Mark Johnson, Guillermo del Toro
- Associate Producer: Nick Nunziata
- Executive Producers: William Horberg, Stephen Jones
- Art Direction: Lucinda Thomson
- Castings: Venus Kanani, Christine King, Mary Vernieu
- Costume Design: Wendy Chuck
- D.O.P.: Oliver Stapleton
- Editor: Jill Bilcock
- Makeup: Chiara Tripodi
- Musics: Marco Beltrami, Buck Sanders
- Production Design: Roger Ford
- Set Decoration: Kerrie Brown
Blackwood Manor has new tenants. While architect Alex Hurst (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) restore their Gothic mansion's period interiors, Alex’s young daughter Sally (Bailee Madison)—neglected by her real mother and brushed aside by the careerist father—can investigate the macabre history and dark corners of the estate.
Spurring Sally's investigation are the voices—rasping whispers who call out to her from the basement, who promise her understanding and friendship, who are so very hungry and would like to be set free. When Sally gives in to her curiosity, she opens a gateway into a hellish underworld from which an army of beady-eyed, sharp-clawed monsters emerge, small in size but endless in number: the homunculi.
Confronted with the horror that now threatens to taker her life and destroy her family, Sally desperately tries to warn the whole house, but there's just one problem: no one believes her. Will she make them understand in time, or will they become another chapter in the centuries-long horror story of Blackwood Manor?
Based on the 1973 telefilm that Guillermo del Toro believes to be the scariest TV production ever made, DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK was co-written and co-produced by del Toro and directed by Troy Nixey. Akin to PAN’S LABYRINTH, DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK focuses on a young girl’s struggle against menacing and terrifying forces.
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Filming Locations: Melbourne, Australia
- MPAA Warning: Violence and terror
- Production Budget: $12.5 million
- Production Companies: Gran Via, Miramax Films, Tequila Gang
- Production Schedule: July 2009 - October 2009
2011 Guide Analysis: "There's something highly appealing about Gothic horror, those old-fashioned tales that are all about atmosphere, sound design, suggestion and unsettling dread. Slasher films and torture porn ruined much of the genre as it became much more about the visceral, but the best efforts of this field from the original "The Haunting of Hill House" to "The Innocents" still work superbly today.
In recent times though its been Spanish filmmakers that have been leading the charge in this field with the one-two blow of Alejandro Amenabar's superb "The Others" and Guillermo del Toro's delicious "The Devil's Backbone" almost a decade ago showing the genre still has plenty of fertile ground. del Toro went on to produce 2007's "The Orphanage" which used the formula well, and returns as producer for this remake of a surprisingly creepy 70's TV movie about a couple who move into a house with a previously sealed up basement fireplace populated by sinister small creatures tormenting the wife.
One of two great Gothic horror TV movies being remade this year, the other being a new version of the chilling 1989 British tale "The Woman in Black", 'Dark' was shot in Melbourne in mid-late 2009 under the helm of Troy Nixey. Nixey makes his feature filmmaking debut here, following on from his brilliant work with the animated short "Latchkey's Lament", and has managed to turn a film with a modest $12.5 million budget into something that looks like it cost considerably more.
Some of the plot elements have been changed, namely the couple is now a father, daughter and the father's new partner with the daughter becoming the target of the creatures. The creatures themselves have gone from looking like old school "Star Trek" villains to CG creations more akin to something out of a Lovecraft tome. Their small stature, sinister whispering and creepy scuttling is all still very much there and will likely be used to much greater effect thanks to the kind of money and talent on offer that a TV movie of the week in the 70's could only dream of having.
A teaser trailer showing off only a little footage proved very effective, while reviews from very early screenings have been raves and claim the filmmakers have achieved the aim they started out with - to make a genuinely frightening film. Originally aiming to be a PG-13, the MPAA awarded the film an R for 'pervasive scariness' and said the filmmakers essentially couldn't trim anything out. So they've kept it intact and thank god for that.
The only downside here is that the film was produced by Miramax, which means it became caught up in all the hassle of that sale. Now 'Dark' and "The Debt" mentioned above are sitting in vaults awaiting Filmyard's full takeover of Miramax. With both films currently unscheduled, there's no telling when this will hit theatres or what kind of release is planned. However having seen quite a bit of this production (I can't go into details just yet), I can definitely say this will be worth the wait."