Oct 14, 2011

Review: The Thing


Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. Release Date:  13 October 2011
Rating: (MA15+)
Runtime:  103 mins


Recently, there has been a growing trend in remaking films only released a couple of years ago: 2008's Let the Right One In  (Let Me In, 2010), and 2009's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 2011) amongst them. While this is a prequel, this detail is a mere technicality, given the film holds such striking similarities in action and story to the original. In this case, we applaud the 29 year gap between John Carpenter's 1982 film and the obvious attention given to developing a script that is grounded and realistic in terms of character, but also highly amusing. 

Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a graduate student of paleontology, is persuaded by Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) to accompany his team (including classmate Adam, here played by Eric Christian Olsen on a top-secret mission to Antarctica. The effectiveness of the first helicopter scene in which the research team fly in to the base cannot be underestimated: here, we get a small glimpse of each character's true nature, including a very genuine, all-American boy in the form of basketball fan and helicopter pilot, Carter (Joel Edgerton). 



The pristine snow-covered vistas glimpsed from above seem still yet wild, but don't really give any indication that this mysterious discovery might be anything seriously sinister. Easy, light banter between the actors sets off the suspenseful tone, showing similarities to other recent genre outings like Troy Nixey's 2011 gem Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (a remake produced and written by Mexican master Guillermo del Toro). Following the reveal of a mysterious underground ice-cave and its contents, fissures in the ice holding the team together begin to develop as the group return to base and begin to examine the alien find. 

Winstead and Edgerton play a deadly game of Laser Force.
While not at the same level as the Saw films, the notion of trust and the action of people beginning to turn on each other due to paranoia, founded or otherwise, creates excellent drama and tension and allows for steady character development. Depite our overwhelming urge to issue the film with a new tagline, something similar to 'When life burns' or 'Problem? Kill it with fi-yah!', The Thing is a very satisfying, entertaining view. 

Mary Elizabeth Winstead excels as the smart, grounded, determined Kate Lloyd whose easy alliance with Carter (an entirely natural, well-cast Joel Edgerton) adds a stunningly human element to a film that could have gone the way of full frontal, B-movie schlock. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but the core characters here have more to offer and it's nice to see that promise delivered upon. Coupled with impressive visual effects and creature design that doesn't overwhelm on the CG front, The Thing is a highly effective genre film and a great way to spend a couple of hours. 

***1/2

Sep 30, 2011

Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love


Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Release Date:  29 September 2011
Rating: (M)
Runtime:  118 mins

There are several defining features that point clearly to Crazy, Stupid, Love being anything but stock-standard. Female we may be, but our loathing for traditional rom-coms runs deep.  First and foremost, the end product benefits immeasurably from its high concept beginnings and a tautly plotted, emotionally complex script from Dan Fogelman, who recently penned Tangled (2011). 

Gosling and Carell have a Godfather: Project Runway edition moment.
  
In what is undoubtedly his best role since Dan in Real Life, Steve Carell's 40-something Cal Weaver has lost his man-grapes: his kahunas, if you will. His wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), is in the grips of a mid-life crisis and and asks him for a divorce, after cheating on him with a work colleague. The friendship Cal forms with Jacob (Ryan Gosling) as he uncertainly claws his way into the dating world (after exiting it promptly at the age of 15) will make you cringe, laugh, and at times, tear up a little. Gosling plays it camp in showing Cal the ropes, but not to the point of disbelief. Steve Carell extends his repertoire, making Cal as accessible, warm, and real as he is lonely and a tad pathetic. 

Seriously though, what an absolute cracker of a year for Ryan Gosling; early reports on both Drive and The Ides of March are stellar, and his turn as Jacob, womaniser-with-a-heart-of-gold in Crazy, Stupid, Love has with certainty earned him that well-deserved hat trick. It's his Pretty Woman, if you will. His initial attraction to downright goofy (but obviously smokin') Hannah (Emma Stone) really burns up the screen: he can't quite believe it, but she's a set apart from any other girl. 

A walk in the moonlight with the Bacon is all anyone could ask for, right?

The high-calibre ensemble cast, including Kevin Bacon as Emily's maybe love interest, David Lindhagen; Marisa Tomei as primary-school teacher and seductress Kate (it's her high heel you see in the promo poster); Analeigh Tipton as the Weaver kids' babysitter Jess; and Jonah Bobo as Robbie Weaver, the strangest, sweetest 13-year-old boy to light up the silver screen this year. 

Jonah Bobo: off to meet E.T.
Audiences won't bawl like they might'a in Blue Valentine (2010)—another Gosling gem—but there's still enough of that genuine 'well fuck, I've really messed up' feeling to resonate clearly with audiences of all ages. Seeing Crazy, Stupid, Love on a big screen doesn't add all that much visually, but it definitely doesn't hurt seeing a 20-foot-tall version of Ryan Gosling's abs or Steve Carell windmilling.

****

Sep 28, 2011

Review: Project Nim



Director: James Marsh
Release Date:  29 September 2011
Rating: (M)
Runtime: 93 mins

In almost every way, documentaries are tough going: a challenge to drum up funds, difficult to make circumstantially, tricky to judge how the final version will emerge from the editing suite, and hard to sell to distributors and cinemas. It seems vitally important and wholly miraculous that excellent feature-length documentaries such as Project Nim, the new offering from James Marsh (Director of 2008's Academy Award winning Man on Wire), are made at all.   

Nim as an infant in Stephanie LaFarge's house.
The true star of this wacky ensemble is of course Nim, the chimpanzee who was taken from his mother at a research facility in Oklahoma at just two-weeks of age in the 1970s. The reason: to act as the research subject for Dr. Herbert Terrace, a Professor at Columbia University interested in studying communication between chimps and humans. Brought to New York (an apartment on the Upper Westside) to live with Stephanie LaFarge and her family, Nim was initially raised in a very loving, relaxed environment: he was unequivocally part of the family. The documentary tracks his subsequent move to Delafield Estate in Riverdale (owned by Columbia University, 'estate' is putting it mildly), where he lived with a number of teachers and researchers and learned how to sign and communicate, only to be ripped away from this safe haven: the ordeals he had no choice but to endure thereafter are absolutely heartbreaking. 

Bill and Nim, playing on Delafield Estate.
What could have been a fascinating look at pioneering research—the quest to share and experience language between different species in a coherent, grammatically correct way—becomes so much more with a prodigious Director like Marsh. The people in this documentary are so very everyday and yet they're also portrayed in a light and a way that makes them complex characters, driven by desperate desires and emotions. Marsh effortlessly builds and captures these personas over the course of the narrative. His near-seamless exposition feels like a silk scarf that has slipped past in the wind: only visible momentarily.

Dr. Herb Terrace seems to be competing with a number of notable public figures for the title of 'most odious person alive': finding a more egotistical, self-serving, spineless person would indeed be difficult. Nim's first carer Stephanie LaFarge means very well, but perhaps suffers from a lack of common sense that was never destined to stand her in good stead in the long term. 

Bob and Nim: friends for life.
The audience also has the pleasure of viewing Joyce and Bill in action, teachers who were at Delafield Estate during the project whose expansive minds match their enormous hearts. Perhaps the most welcome surprise is Grateful Dead fan and all-out hippie Bob—out of everyone who cared for Nim over the years, Bob truly would stop at nothing to make sure he was safe, happy, and treated with respect. This man (and probably he alone) seemed to understand what it took to be part of the life of a creature outside our own species. We as viewers are fortunate to have shared even that small amount of time with Bob and Nim: most certainly mirroring how Bob felt about the beautiful, intelligent friend he found in Nim Chimpsky.

****

Sep 25, 2011

And Cut!: Updates and such

So, we've been moving interstate and must apologise for the rather protracted hiatus. Things are, however, afoot.


First: we've joined The 500 Club - a most excellent film review blog run out of Brisbane (snickering is verboten!). They're really into their film (and TV over at The 400 Club) and we're so happy to have joined their ranks.We'll still be blogging here, but our contributions to The 500 Club will just mean more writing, more often. It's also nice to be part of a collective and share the writing experience. To take a phrase from the less-desirable Sheen, #winning.


Second: check out our aticle 'They Should Make a Movie of That!' in the September issue of FILMINK, the one with Hugh Jackman on the cover. We talk about Leanne Hall's wonderful YA novel This is Shyness and its filmic possiblities. In extremely exciting news, our second article in 'They Should Make a Movie of That!' is now out in the latest issue of FILMINK with Ryan Gosling on the cover. This month, we're talking about Patti Smith's beautifully written rock/poetry/art/life memoir, Just Kids. Our dearest hope is that the woman herself gets to read the article (it doesn't hurt to dream!), as she and playwright John Logan are currently in the process of writing the screenplay


Third: expect new reviews on And Cut! this week. We're previewing Project Nim, the new documentary from Man on Wire (2008) Director James Marsh, as well as the new romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love, with an extremely likable star-studded cast in Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, and man-of-THE-moment, Ryan Gosling. At the very least, it promises not to be a movie containing traces of Katherine Heigl: a triumph for the ages, if you're into hyperbole.

And cut! 

Aug 24, 2011

Guest Review: Cowboys and Aliens

Meet @AKWregg: film Director and reviewer extraordinnaire. While we were away on holiday in NYC recently, Alex was awesome enough to attend a screening on our behalf and check out Jon Favreau's latest, Cowboys and Aliens. Check out his review below and Tweet him some love!

Director: Jon Favreau
Release Date:  18 August 2011
Rating: (M)
Runtime: 118 mins


Watching Cowboys and Aliens is kind of like getting punched by your grandmother when you are kissing her goodbye. It starts off a little risqué and ends up shameful and degrading. The opening scenes are interesting and just violent enough to shake expectations but they are all too brief before we are introduced to the ACME-standard frontier town and everything rushes into a clump of stereotypes and cliché. The fact that aliens suddenly appear to shake everything up should be a surprising twist but the title of the film kinda gives audiences that change of direction away. This is unfortunate, given that it’s the one true surprise of the film.

Daniel Craig stars as a hard-bitten cowboy stranger in town, quietly spoken and deadly when provoked. One does have to wonder why they went with James Bond as an American cowboy, but such illicit thoughts need to be cast aside for the greater good of Australia’s Hollywood stars. In the end however, Craig’s character never gets beyond the functional archetype. We don’t really care if he lives or dies because to us, he is just a rough sketch of personality. He’s useful in a gun fight, but otherwise uninteresting. In contrast, character actors like Sam Rockwell feel underused in minor, though interesting roles.

Sadly, the great Harrison Ford seems to have been somewhat miscast in this film. Harrison keeps getting cast as older, world-weary characters by directors who clearly just wish he were their action hero. The results are what feel like heroic roles with horrible personal defects. In Cowboys and Aliens, Harrison is a violent torturer and racist, both qualities that we are supposed to believe hide a heart of gold.  I call shenanigans on this actually being possible. Directors and studios need to just bite the bullet and try casting the legendary actor as an actual bad guy. Hey, they did it in What Lies Beneath (beware 11-year-old spoiler).

Ford sees a better role, way off in the distance.
As for Olivia Wilde as the mysterious love interest, also new in town? She is put in a truly awkward position, cast as a completely aimless character whose inexplicably strange actions seem to have no reason or purpose whatsoever until she is revealed as the deus-ex-machina for the entire film, placed there just to explain everything and fix the unfixable. She also begins what is a pretty catastrophic set of plot holes that starts about half way in and runs strong for the rest of the film. How exactly do a race of immortal beings get “wiped out?” Why do aliens with teleportation technology, beam weapons and space travel rush about attacking cowboys whilst naked and on all fours? A towering pillar of Hollywood cliché, they possess both amazing technology and the survival instincts of lemmings. High tech weaponry, space faring intelligence and they decide the only way to deal with heavily armoured humans in frontal charge using tooth and claw? I might consider ants to be an inferior enemy but my battle strategy against them would not be to cover myself in honey and lie still.

At the end of the day Cowboys and Aliens was an interesting idea and with Jon Favreau at the helm, could have been the exact kind of cheesy genre mash-up experiment that Hollywood should be making rather than the never ending sequel train we have been subjected to of late. Ultimately it comes down to a weak script (the framework of which seems directly lifted from the 80s cult classic Krull) and a lack of willingness to go all the way. The film holds back where it should have been brassy. It’s either not funny enough or not serious enough. Basically it should have just given granny the tongue and gotten it over with. Now we’ll always have to live with an idle daydream of what could have been.

**1/2 
- Alexander Wregg

Review: One Day




Director: Lone Scherfig
Release Date: 25 August 2011
Rating: (M)
Runtime: 107 mins

In so far as we can recommend romantic comedies, One Day most certainly ranks above average in the category, its two stars Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe, The Way Back) and Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada, Brokeback Mountain, Rachel's Wedding) sharing an easy on-screen chemistry; this in itself is a fine thing to witness as opposed to the oft-forced banter between Jennifer Anniston, Gerard Butler, Katherine Heigl et al. Truth be told, Hathaway probably could have done with some extra tutelage with the accent coach, but it doesn't grate so much over the course of the film as it does in the theatrical trailer. We've downgraded our assessment from 'the ruination of all things holy' to simply 'there'. 

Based on the wonderfully witty novel by David Nicholls (who also penned the screenplay for this adaptation), One Day chronicles the development of the relationship between lovable cad Dexter Mayhew (Sturgess) and bookish, waspish Emma Morley over 20 years on the same day, July 15th. 

Sturgess and Hathaway decide: Chinese again or a curry?

While this device seems a relatively original concept and allows the viewer to feel as though we are viewing important snapshots, make no mistake that this is simply a device. Nicholls carries this through in the structure of the screenplay but unfortunately, here the pacing seems off, the narrative rushed, the sense of 'epic romance': lost. This is particularly problematic, when the build to the emotional crescendo resembles more of a gentle hill climb as opposed to a mountain trek, resulting in a lack of 'crash'.

However, going into One Day as a fan of Lone Scherfig's previous English-language effort, An Education, which so completely hit the mark and launched the career of Carey Mulligan: it was foolish. Our high expectations were dashed, especially so because the films share such blatant similarities: both are adaptations where the screenplay was written by a novelist (if not the novelist), both are British films, both are about young love (though the relationship in An Education offers greater complexity over a shorter timeframe).  

One Day offers very little of the style and glamour that An Education pulled off so easily, which applies not only to the clothes, but also the lighting and camera. The naturalistic, no nonsense 90s aesthetic wears thin very quickly and the images just start to look fuzzy in places: overall, the film was unremarkable to look at. 

Funny, but not in possession of the same vim and vigour the book virtually screams with, One Day was a structurally faithful book-to-film adaptation, but didn't add an extra layer to the story or further illuminate beloved characters. Never judge a film by its art-school, romantic-as-hell poster is all we'll say.

***

Aug 21, 2011

Review: Midnight in Paris



Director: Woody Allen
Release Date: 20 October 2011
Rating: TBC
Runtime: 94 mins

It's just as well Woody Allen's latest film opened the Festival de Cannes 2011—what a feel-good farce to kick off a festival that is renowned for excellent cinema, but usually of a more serious nature. With Midnight in Paris, Allen makes a return to form, transplanting otherworldly elements into everyday life to both charm us and stretch our imaginations.

Gil (Owen Wilson) is a successful American screenwriter who is slugging through the draft of his first novel. He and Fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams), are tagging along on a business trip to Paris with her parents; Gil writes while Inez and her mother plan the wedding to end them all (this includes men, if you ask us).

The opening montage of Parisian cafes, side streets, and waifs riding bikes while French concertina music plays is perfect in setting up the romantic comedy angle, but actually leads the viewer to believe we're in for something more Hollywood than is the reality.

The earth spins back on its axis after a night out with Inez's insufferable wine-sniffing friends, Paul (Michael Sheen) and Carol (Nina Arianda). Gil wanders off, slightly tipsy, to take the scenic route home and ends up lost as the clock strikes midnight and he is whisked off by a band of strangers from the 1920s.

Here, you can see Allen's wonderful sense of humour and flight of fancy come into play: Gil spends time with his literary heroes during his favourite Parisian period and gets to know its characters and chameleons as if they had been in his life forever. He is enchanted by 1920s patroness of the arts—to put it kindly—Adriana (Marion Cotillard) and begins to imagine a new life outside Inez, her sniffy friends, her money-lust and general unpleasantness. All due credit to McAdams for delivering a thoroughly nasty, yet uncomplicatedly boring anti-heroine in Inez: an achievement for an actress usually so likeable and radiant in every role she takes on.

Allen uses his talent for witty dialogue and a keen sense of irony to deliver a script and characters that are both real and entirely fictional at the same time, due to the presence of a separate, meta-fictional narrative. The star-studded ensemble cast featuring Carla Bruni, Adrien Brody, Tom Hiddleston, and Kathy Bates will leave you pondering the absurdities they roll out in such a matter-of-fact manner. 

Allen with Carla Bruni, about to film a scene.
As a filmmaker, Mr Allen has managed to comment on the romantic-minded among us who wish we were born of a different era, when in fact if we appreciated the things in front of us, we would learn to enjoy life a little more. As an actor, Owen Wilson has managed to exceed 'the Woody Allen' by imbuing Gil with an infectious enthusiasm for art, life, and one of the most beautiful cities on earth, Paris: may we lose ourselves there on a cobble-stoned street and recall Allen's wonderful characters sooner rather than later.

****

Aug 20, 2011

Panel: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (Live in NYC, 8 August 2011)


While we were in NYC recently, we were lucky enough to attend not only the US Premiere of Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, but also the Q&A session with writer and producer Guillermo del Toro, director Troy Nixey, and stars Katie Holmes and Bailee Madison. 

What quickly became apparent was this: the road Guillermo travelled to get this film made was extremely long and more than a little trying. He had been pursuing the rights for 14 years before he could move on his dream, finally purchasing the rights in 1998 and beginning development at Miramax. However, the studio wanted him to Hollywood up the script and sanitise it, which because of his previous experience making Mimic (1997), del Toro wasn't willing to do.

Film Comment Editor Gavin Smith, Guillermo del Toro, Katie Holmes, Bailee Madison, and Troy Nixey.
The crux of the idea for him was to remake the film but really draw out the elements from the original 1973 John Newland film that he loved, including pagan fairy-lore and the maxim that the creatures did not exist in the realm of 'cute'. The filmmakers wanted to respect the creature designs of the 1973 original. Guillermo commented to a rapturuous crowd of about 200 and mock-offended star, 11-year-old Bailee Madison: 'Fairies in pagan mythology are not blinky shiny little fuckers'. This was not the last time during the panel she told the wiley Mexican film extraordinnaire to keep it clean, but trust us, it was hilariously sassy every time.

Del Toro admitted that while all of his protagonists are children, audiences should also take note of his tendency towards writing strong, female characters. In the original, Sally is a grown woman (as opposed to del Toro's 11-year-old incarnation) and very submissive. To counteract what he obviously felt was a flaw in the script, he wrote Sally as a strong, resourceful young girl and Kim (Katie Holmes) as the slightly awkward, well-meaning stepmother who comes into her own as the stakes are raised. 

First-time feature director, Troy Nixey, appears to have landed a dream gig. Nixey drew comic books professionally for 17 years, before throwing himself into short film (including writing, producing and directing the short Latchkey's Lament). If we're not mistaken, Nixey sent some early concept drawings of the fairies through Guillermo's website upon hearing that Don't Be Afraid of the Dark was in development. Guillermo saw them, watched Nixey's short film, then soon after asked Nixey to clime aboard as director. Del Toro felt, at least at a superficial level, that Pan's Labyrinth shared some similarities with Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and because of this, had no desire to helm the movie himself.

Nixey then set to work 'mapping out the gameplan for the characters' and according to Katie Holmes, spent a lot of time working with her on her character's backstory and making it all as real as possible. Holmes said she was attracted to the film for a number of reasons, but actually got scared reading the script and felt that was a good sign for a horror film; surely, it's also the mark of a talented writer. 

One of the elements alluded to in the film is Kim's (Holmes) crappy childhood, but Nixey felt very strongly that he wanted to avoid the female leads (Holmes and Madison) interacting in a way that explicitly said that. Nixey and del Toro both felt strongly about the fact that Alex (Guy Pearce and in the film, Sally's father) should play the role of the fairly useless, absentee father-figure in order to show a stark contrast between the men and women, which we felt was achieved in a successful manner.

Young gun (and we think she deserves the title of Scream Queen) Bailee Madison, who is absolutely convincing in the film, was really excited for Don't Be Afraid of the Dark to be shot in Melbourne, Australia. Well thank you, Bailee. We're certain Australia was over the moon to have Guillermo & Co. on our shores and would gladly welcome them back at any time. The actress really got into her character and was simultaneously intelligent, bubbly, and thoughtful throughout the panel.

Unfortunately, after over an hour of this riveting discussion, the panel had to wrap. Del Toro ended proceedings by talking about the film's (R) rating in the United States and thanking the MPAA for making that decision, rather than asking the filmmakers to cut and distort the film from their original vision: 'We need to make like the scary pride parade.' We got a handshake and an autograph from the talented Mr. del Toro and alas, had to wash our hand eventually; it's a bastard riding the subway in NYC, for realsies.

That's all from the red carpet for now, but be sure to check out Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, opening in theatres around Australia on 25 August, 2011 and tell us what you think!

Guillermo del Toro signing autographs afterwards.
Also, a sincere thank you to The Film Society at The Lincoln Center in NYC for putting on this wonderful event.

Aug 10, 2011

Review: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (NYC Premiere 8 August 2011)


Director: Troy Nixey
Release Date: 25 August 2011
Rating: (TBC)
Runtime: 110 mins

Horror: if you were expecting another brilliant ride from the mind of Guillermo del Toro who wrote and produced this number, then yes, spot on. If you were expecting a typical horror film, prepare to delight in the many ways this entirely fascinating remake of the 1973 John Newland film Don't Be Afraid of the Dark subverts and adds to the genre. 

Sally (Bailee Madison), this time a pre-teen, is shipped off to live with her architect Dad, Alex, (Guy Pearce) and his interior designer girlfriend, Kim (Katie Holmes) who are in the midst of transforming an old, gothic-style home on Rhode Island. It's clear from the outset that Sally lacks stability in her life and is something of a nervous, yet angry child.

There is, as you would expect, an innate strangeness attached to the house, and it soon becomes apparent that something or someone wants to assimilate Sally into the bones of it. From here we start getting into the serious horror beats and the deadly serious scares, but rest assured the combination of fairy-lore and the naturally-occuring humour ensure the audience is consistently intrigued and entertained.

Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce check out the new bat cave.

The dynamic that del Toro and co-writer Matthew Robbins set up between Sally and Kim, a childless twenty-something woman whose obvious and primary goal in life up until now has been to build her career, is so valuable to creating a believable character arc for these two female leads. The development of their relationship is key: Sally's trust in Kim grows steadily as she proves herself to be genuinely concerned with the young girl's welfare, acting as a fierce protector and confidante. 

Bailee Madison may be relative newcomer to this planet, but for one so young, she wields an impressive Hollywood rap-sheet with roles in Bridge to Terabithia, Just Go With It, and many a made-for-television movie. At the premiere in del Toro's brief introduction prior to the start of the film, he described her as 'the grand Dame of horror herself, Bailee Madison'. Sure, she screams her way through this one with applomb, but she also steals every single scene, no matter the situation she finds herself in.

Flashlight gags = so much fun.
 
First-time feature Director Troy Nixey (who made the short Latchkey's Lament) has used the multitude of tools afforded him (a remarkable writer and producer in del Toro; first-class actors; and an über-experienced crew) to such great effect, it seems likely there are many features to come. In terms of his vision for the film, it's apparent his former career drawing comic books has helped enormously. Paired with Art Director extraordinnaire Lucinda Thompson (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and more recently, Where the Wild Things Are) and Director of Photography Oliver Stapleton, the visual aesthetic has translated into a very visceral 'shiver' on the part of the audience. 

As ornate and eerie as Pan's Labyrinth before it, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark perfectly matches a multilayered story with a mutlilayered visual journey. There are so few current films that can boast this achievement.

Featuring the best apple pie-scene since American Pie, Guillermo del Toro and Troy Nixey have delivered an enjoyable nail-biter rent with a lush design aesthetic, menacing soundscape (not to mention the score by Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, which harks back to the Golden Age of composition), and sharp, lucid writing.

****
NOTE: For further information on Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, the Q&A summary with Guillermo del Toro, Katie Holmes, Troy Nixey, and Bailee Madison will be up shortly.