Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film, Haunted House Film  |   Run Time - 74 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Donald Guarisco

This vintage t.v. chiller remains a potent little fright-fest. The enduring potency of Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark comes from a few important things. The first is Nigel McKiand's script: he keeps the storyline simple and direct, building it around nicely-drawn characterizations and steadily ratcheting up the tension throughout the story. The second is the impressive level of commitment to the material in its performances. Kim Darby and Jim Hutton create a believable portrait of a newlywed relationship that is still trying to find its footing and their convincing rapport helps ground the story, even when it is pushing into Twilight Zone/Night Gallery-type territory. The third and most important element is John Newland's tense, skillful direction. Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark is the kind of story that could have come off as silly if directed in the wrong style but Newland makes all the right choices: he plays the story totally straight and creates a genuinely grim and spooky atmosphere from the film's opening frames. The latter element of his work is aided tremendously by an eerie musical score from Billy Goldenberg and Andrew Jackson's shadowy cinematography. In short, Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark is one of the most memorable made-for-t.v. horror films and well worth a look to genre fans.