The movie, ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ is an old-fashioned haunted-house thriller, but still effective. Little Sally (Bailee Madison) is sent by her California mom to Rhode Island in order to live with her dad, Alex (Guy Pearce), and his new girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes), surprisingly impressive as a tougher than-she seems horror heroine.
Alex is restoring an old mansion, for which Kim is doing the interior design, and they set Sally up in an upstairs bedroom.
Then they discover a hidden basement, where Sally unintentionally frees some nasty little critters who soon wreak havoc, damaging the rooms and whispering ominous things to Sally who, for much of the movie, cannot get her thick-headed dad into believing the beasties are real.
Director Troy Nixey is working from a screenplay by Guillermo Del Toro and Matthew Robbins (adaptation of a television movie in 1973 Kim Darby, who played the role from Katie Holmes), the tension builds slowly and is frightened and more effective if seen creatures can be seen.