Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (1973) (BLU-RAY REVIEW)
DIRECTED BY: John Newland
Starring: Kim Darby, Jim Hutton, Barbara Anderson
RATED: UR/REGION A/1:33/1080P/NUMBER OF DISCS 1
AVAILABLE FROM Warner Archive Collection
An old house…a mysterious locked room…a terrifying secret. Elements that make a horror movie memorably chilling get a taut, spooky reworking in DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. Kim Darby (TRUE GRIT) and Jim Hutton (THE GREEN BERETS) star as Sally and Alex, young marrieds who inherit a crumbling mansion. Despite warnings to leave well enough alone in her new home, Sally unlocks the mysterious room, opens a bricked-up fireplace — and unleashes a horde of hideous, whispering, murdering mini-demons only she can see and hear. Alex thinks she’s imagining things. We know she isn’t. And we know Sally should be very, very afraid of the dark!
As far as made for TV movies’ go, 1973’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ is a pretty solid and spooky one to see. Given a remake 2010, this movie manages to put a style and mood in the forefront to ensure a very atmospheric and weird experience. We see people move into a house and despite being warned by the house’s handyman, the lady of the house still messes with the wrong thing and unleashes some creatures that only come out during the darkness. What the movie can lack in pace from time to time, it more than makes up for it with character and overall bleak tone. It’s hard to look back now and believe that made for TV movies were ever made with such a level of quality.
There isn’t a lot of blood here (if any), there isn’t a lot of bells and whistles, but you get a good tense situation that is set up nicely and builds to a payoff that you are never too sure about until the credits roll. The little creatures here are interesting enough and I think they are used well, especially coming from the time this movie was made. I think the remake that would come later forgot about the little things like tension and stuff like creepy lighting in a scene that can go a longer way to make something scary and make it work than most other fancy tricks and jumpscares. This Blu-ray packs a couple of extras, but the main thing is having this one in HD and it does look good.
– BRAND NEW 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGAITVE
– NEW Audio Commentary by Amanda Reyes (Made for TV Mayhem)
– Audio Commentary by Steve “Uncle Creepy” Barton (Dread Central), Screenwriter Jeffrey Reddick (Final Destination, Day of the Dead ) and Sean Abley (Fangoria)
– Optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature
Quality of Transfer: 93%