Friday, September 2, 2011
Won't Be Afraid of the Dark
It's quite possible that I won't be able to post at all tomorrow, so I figure I would submit this tonight. I imagine Jason is at the theater now and wouldn't even be able to read this until he got back anyway. If you're doing a later showing, obviously ignore this for now. And John and Jeff, don't feel as if you have to respond to my post in your first posts. We've got time to debate. So here goes...
John, it was great to finally meet you; can't wait for the next CR5FC event...which is The Immortals, right? Ben, had you gone with us, you would've understood that inside joke. Sorry, just the facts, my friend.
On Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, I can understand why Guillermo del Toro was pissed about getting an "R" rating; I'd be pissed, too. As a result, the people who would've been terrified by this movie (ages 8-16) won't get to see it unless their parents or a sibling who is also old enough to buy cigs and porn takes them.
Ben and Lisa, you should see it. It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. You can trust me - I am very much a wimp when it comes to this stuff (Ernest Scared Stupid freaked me out as a kid) and I slept very peacefully in an apartment by myself Thursday night. Lights off and everything.
I'll be interested to hear what our resident horror experts, Jason and Brandon, think about it...but then I'd also like to hear from someone who was scared by it...so I could pick on them. Stupid, scared little kids. Kidding, kids.
There was a moment when I sat in the theater and wondered whether or not I was now too old to be afraid of a movie. But I think I really just chalk it up to the movie being more appropriate for a younger audience. Had I seen this movie at the age of thirteen, I probably would've bankrupted my parents with the electric bill.
So the "scary movie" wasn't scary - doesn't that make it bad or unsuccessful? No, I enjoyed it and thought it was entertaining. I also think it's best to see it in the theater. This movie is great if there are speakers behind you; it definitely gave the movie more atmosphere and life...makes you feel as if you're being watched or something.
Simultaneously, I'm trying not to get hung up on a lot of the horror movie cliches that were also in this one. The only review I did glance at before seeing the movie was one in which the reviewer couldn't seem to get over the fact that Sally's father, Alex, didn't decide to leave the house sooner (though del Toro does have a pretty good response for me). I know I can't fixate on that because without that stupid decision and many other stupid decisions, the movie would only be twenty minutes long. Stupidity is a catalyst for conflict, especially in horror. In that sense, I can understand why many people laugh throughout these kinds of movies. Sometimes they can be pretty damn silly. There were a couple of moments when Jeff, John, and I exchanged smirks. The whispering that made the trailer and website kind of spooky wasn't really effective in the film, I have to say. Sometimes what was whispered was downright laughable.
Other criticisms - I really am tired of characters like Alex, but what are you going to do? Granted, if I had a daughter and she told me that little creatures climbed into her room and were trying to take her, I'd probably be dismissive, too. Films like these are supposed to be based in our world, so of course Alex is going to ignore her and up her dosage of Adderall instead. Okay, fine...but still.
And while I'd rather watch this movie than many of the others in the horror genre, I still sat in my chair and thought to myself, "It would be nice to watch a horror movie that was completely devoid of these cliches. To have more story going on and to have characters who didn't say the things you knew they were going to say." Someday. But the movie is enjoyable because, as del Toro tells us, it's of the same mold as many of the older haunted house movies that children might come across while channel surfing late at night. It very much has a vintage kind of feel to it. I didn't see the original made-for-tv version.
The movie is effective in making you dislike Pearce's character (an actor I like) and making you like Katie Holmes' character (an actress I dislike). But hell, she was attractive and even likeable in this. Bailee Madison was great - a cute kid who did a really nice job. I felt that the house had a nice design and was a great-looking haunted house. The door on the basement was pretty cool as was the look of the basement itself. I also liked the folklore aspect of the story and maybe felt that that part should've been played up more. But I don't think the movie necessarily needed to be too much longer.
Since I'm still holding out hope that Ben and Lisa will see it (and since Brandon is out on tour and his opportunities are limited), I'd like to point out that below this sentence is my SPOILERS section.
I liked the opening scene as it was definitely the creepiest part of the movie. It got my anticipation up and even put me a little on edge, I admit. Since they got an R anyway, they probably should have just shown Blackwood hammering through the maid's skull. But you guys know me and it's probably best that I didn't witness something like that. Ha.
But yeah, after that...the...movie...slowed...down...a little...too...much.
What do you guys think - did we see too much of the creatures? Part of me feels that we did and that that made them less terrifying. I was content with the design and computerization of them, though. I guess I'm old-fashioned in only wanting to see my monsters until the very end.
One thing that I mentioned to Jeff and John was that I was a little shocked by the ending. I did not expect Kim to die. I figured that the movie would most likely end with them leaving the house and showing that someone else had moved in. But yeah, didn't expect her to die. A part of me likes that she did, but yeah, that also sucks; she didn't deserve it. Funny how the guys like Alex, who are assholes throughout the entire ordeal, usually live. I think I was mainly shocked because of the idea that they wanted a PG-13 rating. How many PG-13 movies can you think of in which an innocent main character dies? I'm not saying I agree with the MPAA, but that was a little strange and unexpected. Also, after she was taken down the hole, I half-expected a rescue scene. Maybe that would've been cheesy and stupid, but I think it would've been cool to see what was down there. Maybe a paradise full of happy full-toothed children as John suggested.
But her death does work because it gives us a nice ending in which Kim's whispers can now be heard with the rest of the creatures. A nice little nugget to leave us with.
Another scene that I thought was well-done was when Harris (the gardener) was attacked. Pretty cool in a slightly gruesome (based on my standards) sort of way.
But I've said a lot and I should probably leave some room for everyone else to talk about it. Again, I don't necessarily want this early post to influence what anyone else writes about it tomorrow. If we say similar stuff, so be it.