Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

Search This Blog



Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

Friday, December 09, 2011

SIMON REAMES: Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (2011) – Review

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (2011) – Review

Hearing that Guillermo del Toro (the writer and director of Hellboy one and two, Pan’s Labyrinth and Blade 2 to name a few) had completed the screenplay for gothic horror remake Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark and had hired an unknown director, Troy Nixey (whom I hoped del Toro would take under his wing), I had extremely high hopes that this was going to be chilling and suspenseful horror with good acting, a great story, stunning set pieces and a fast pace; all the things that we have seen with his previous films. Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed. And then trampled on. And then kicked about a bit more.

Although I haven’t yet seen the original 1973 film, the plot of the remake does appear to loosely follow that of the original with some twenty first century updates. Sally (our heroine) is a young girl who is sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend at their new home; a gothic mansion that they are renovating. While exploring the gardens, Sally manages to stumble across the existence of a cellar that was unknown to her parents. When they open it up and unlock an old fireplace, they let out a group of mythical creatures that focus all their attention on Sally.

As with most horror films at the moment, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark starts with (what is hoped to be a) shocking and horrifying scene to set the tone of the film. Unfortunately, it’s not and you just wonder what is going on. Once all the characters have been introduced (and you come to realise that the acting isn’t going to get better), the plot then jumps ahead to get the film moving. (This is very blatant and involves Sally stumbling across the existence of the cellar that was somehow unknown to her ‘professional’ house renovating father; but at least the plot is moving on.) When the cellar is opened, you hope the atmosphere can begin to build as you hear mysterious whisperings and see shadows move. Instead, you are treated to a site of multiple CGI fairies/goblins hell bent on creating mischief. This was the biggest let down for me as I was hoping that the ‘monster’ would be revealed at the end thereby giving you plenty of time to create something (infinitely more) scary in your mind. The plot then begins to race on until it culminates in a fairly predictable way.

Not everything in the film was a let-down however; the location and set for the film is stunning and the whole feel of the house seems overbearing. It is just a shame that the rest of the film doesn’t live up to the set’s standards. The mythology of fairies is also delved into and an interesting account of why children leave teeth under the pillow is touched upon but it is no more than a cursory look which is a shame. However, it does make you want to go out and investigate further which is always a good thing

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark could have been an intensely creepy and horrifying film and you do feel slightly let down that it isn’t. I am sure there will be some who love the film but I fail to see how you could.

Watch the trailer here!



Syd said...

Judging by the trailer, I believe I would be more scared by bumping into Jon or Prudence in the dark, than by this film.

Davey-C said...

The first one frightend the bejezus out of me when I was a kid. The goblins in old version looked like hairy prunes but caused nightmares so I suppose it was job done!