The question has a frightening answer given with sadistic glee in horror master Guillermo del Toro’s remake, “Don’t Be a Afraid of the Dark.” When you find out, you may not want to tell your tots.
An upgrade of a 1973 TV movie, this haunted house thriller shows the very reason to, in fact, be afraid of the dark. That’s where the creepy critters thrive, unbeknownst to a young couple and a troubled pre-teen when they move into a crumbling Rhode Island mansion.
Though directed by first-timer Troy Nixey, “Don’t Be Afraid” has all the signature fear-fantasy elements of its producer-screenwriter del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”), in particular, the magically maniacal little monsters, who steal the show and try to steal the humans’ teeth.
Divorced designer Alex (Guy Pearce) and his colleaguelover Kim (Katie Holmes) arrive at the ancient estate with his depressed daughter, Sally (Bailee Madison), and the idea of renovating it.
Shocks and scares start early as the Sally tunes into the other inhabitants of the house. At first, the lonely child longs for their friendship, unlocking a heating grill in the basement, despite warnings from spooky old groundskeeper Harris (Jack Thompson).
Hell-bent on his determination for renovation, Alex shrugs off the strange goings-on as an off-shoot of his daughter’s rejection angst. His blindness grows somewhat ridiculous after Harris is brutally mauled by the monsters and Sally suffers their rather noisy attack in the library as Dad entertains clients during dinner. Kim begins to buy into the monstrous truth behind Sally’s hysteria and packs her bags.
Suspense builds to such a crescendo that even the adolescents in the audience stopped text-messaging (the mark of good movie, these days).