This is the one film that scared the shit out off all the people that grew up in the early 70's. It's hard to believe all this fear came from a film that was made for television. Yes, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark was a TV made movie that struck cord with young people at the time and it is still popular to this day for the memories. Even filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is currently developing a big budget theatrical remake showing the staying power this film had on young minds. Thanks to its reputation and a lot of patient waiting, I was finally able to see this highly sought after film on DVD. I can now safely say it lives up to its reputation of being one scary ass TV made movie.
Our film opens with Kim Darby and her career busy husband moving into her grandmother's old house. While down in a basement like room, Darby finds an old fireplace that is bolted shut. Heading off warnings of the old caretaker, she decides to take off the covering only to release tiny humanoid monsters that decide to terrorize, wanting her to take her back into the chimney with them!
The film has a great, spooky atmosphere with solid acting to help build the suspense. The filmmaking is so good that it's hard to believe this is only a TV made movie. I loved how the director has the little bastards creepily mumble scare jargon. The weakest part of the film is the look of our little monsters but for a TV movie budget they look decent and the filmmakers utilize them with over sized sets. I also wish there was a little more backstory on the monsters themselves. All we are given is that they live in the chimney and that's it. I'm sure the remake will go overboard with explanations (remakes today always do) but just a little more info here would have been helpful and interesting.
This is hands down the best TV made horror movie I have seen (though the Salem's Lot miniseries comes close) and I can see why it affected so many people's lives. The simple yet effective plot would have definitely scared me if I grew up in the early 70's and I'm glad Warner Bros. finally got off their lazy asses and released this highly sought after film on DVD, even if it is only available from their "burn on demand" outfit Warner Archives department.
Written By Eric Reifschneider
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Video Trailer