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DVD, Movie Review

Review: Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark [Dir: John Newland – 1973]

With the remake on the horizon, I thought I’d repost this review of the original movie that I wrote a few years ago for my old blog.

Who’s in it?
Kim Darby, Jim Hutton and William Demarest

What’s it all about then?
Well, it’s about a couple, Sally and Alex, who movie into an old house that was left for them by Sally’s recently deceased Aunt. Sally becomes rather taken with room in the house that contains a blocked up fireplace, when she asks the handyman about unblocking the fireplace he seems very hesitant, telling her that he blocked it off himself and it can’t be opened again. When he leaves, Sally’s curiosity gets the better of her and she manages to open it up…Releasing into the house a wee bit of evil. Evil that is a bit intent on making Sally one of their own.

Ooh, sounds a bit spooky…
It certainly is, especially considering this was made for TV in the 70’s. It contains some great set pieces and scares. It also creates quite a tense atmosphere as apart from two scenes we’re always in the house with whatever is lurking around the corner, this could have been a budget issue, but either way it works to the films advantage, never taking Sally or the viewer out of harms way. The films antagonists, which are what i can only describe as demonic little imps are, even though they might not sound it, actually quite creepy. Make note of the dinner party scene and tell me you didn’t get a slightly unnerved when something pops its head out from a bouquet of flowers for a split second.

Heightening the suspense is the relationship between Sally and Alex, with it’s old fashioned values and Alex’s “husband knows best” attitude it really makes you feel for Sally all the more as she’s never taken seriously when she hears or sees something odd.

Stand out moments?
Well, the aforementioned dinner party scene for one. And the first time one of the creatures grabs a hold of Sally, it comes from out of nowhere with no real build up whatsoever, making it an all the more satisfying little scare. The voices of the little imps must also get a mention, the way they whisper Sally’s name will get your spine tingling a little bit. Another stand out moment is the ending, specifically the very last shot…I’m not going to spoil anything, but it actually gave me goosebumps. I haven’t had the end of a horror movie give me that kind of reaction since i first saw ‘Black Christmas’ many moons ago.

Final thoughts?
A great little hidden treasure of the horror genre which you should seek out if you haven’t already. As of yet there is no official DVD release, but the bootleg that is out there at the minute is fine in terms of quality. With a remake looming on the horizon, there’s no doubt that an official DVD will be released around the time of the remakes release. So we’ve got that to look forward to…no matter how much the remake will inevitably stink.

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