Night­mare on new street

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH

AS A child in Mex­ico, mas­ter di­rec­tor Guillermo del Toro ( Pan’s Labyrinth, Hell­boy ) saw a low- bud­get Amer­i­can tele­movie that would go on to heav­ily in­flu­ence his work as a film­maker.

As he re­mem­bers it, del Toro ‘‘ couldn’t un­der­stand a word of what any­one was say­ing. But the ter­ror they found them­selves in spoke all lan­guages. They were scared, and so was I’’.

Hav­ing worked up a script for a new ver­sion of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, del Toro handed the project over to promis­ing first- timer Troy Nixey to give it his best shot.

The new­comer has done a fairly good job of remix­ing the orig­i­nal to ap­peal to modern tastes. More im­por­tantly, Nixey is care­ful to pay homage to what so in­spired del Toro ( who was ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer on the project, which was filmed in Mel­bourne a few years ago).

What tran­spires, then, is a rock- solid en­try in the time- worn haunted house genre.

You know the drill here. Frac­tured fam­ily unit ( emo­tion­ally de­tached ar­chi­tect Guy Pearce, his girl­friend Katie Holmes, both pic­tured, and his daugh­ter Bailee Madi­son) buy cursed real es­tate.

The dwelling makes it per­fectly clear to the oc­cu­pants they should rack off right now if they know what’s good for them.

The res­i­dents re­main too obliv­i­ous to get the hint for ages. And when they fi­nally do, they still don’t move out.

Yes, we’ve been down this road many times be­fore. But in this par­tic­u­lar case, style does count for some­thing over sub­stance.

Nixey plays his ‘‘ big re­veal’’ as­ton­ish­ingly early for a movie of this type, but clev­erly uses a qual­ity cast ( and some clever crea­ture mod­el­ling and ef­fects) to keep the creeps a- comin’.

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