Ad Fidelity: 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark'
FilmDistrict's marketing for the Don't Be Afraid of the Dark remake has focused on the haunted house scares and Guillermo del Toro's brand while obfuscating who exactly the protagonist is.

Marketing: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is packed with scares that originate from creepy talking creatures that populate an old haunted house.

Reality: The movie has plenty of jumpy moments, and the proceedings are infused with a general sense of dread, though the scares are somewhat front-loaded. The monsters are creepier when off-camera, but, as the movie progresses, the audience is treated to more and more glimpses. In fact, for the last half-hour or so the creatures are shot pretty clearly, and this mitigates some of the tension.

Marketing: Writer and producer Guillermo Del Toro infuses Don't Be Afraid of the Dark with his trademark brand of fantasy horror.

Reality: Del Toro is referenced as many as three times in some commercials, and with good reason: the eerie setting, otherworldly creatures and young girl protagonist all call to mind one of his best-known movies, Pan's Labyrinth. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark lacks the period setting, though, and is also much lighter on the fantasy elements, and will therefore have a harder time establishing itself as something truly unique.

Marketing: Most advertisements portray little girl Sally (Bailee Madison) as the main character, while keeping the adults (Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce) largely off-screen, but Holmes has been the focus of a few ads.

Reality: Newcomer Madison is definitely the protagonist, as the majority of the story is shown from her perspective, and she's involved in most of the scary scenes. Holmes and Pearce play a typical pair of unaware adults for at least the first half of the movie, but Holmes does become more engaged later on and takes on a fairly significant role in the third act.

Box Office Implications: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark more-or-less delivers on its marketing promises, though it may not be scary or unique enough to generate the kind of buzz needed to hold up better than the typical haunted house movie, like Insidious did earlier this year.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark was screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival Closing Night Gala on Sunday, June 26. An in-person introduction from del Toro kicked things off nicely, though the tension was cut mid-way through the movie when a false fire alarm caused a theater evacuation.

Discuss 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark' on Facebook, Twitter, and in Box Office Mojo's forums.

Marketing Links:

Theatrical Trailer

Theatrical Poster

More Ad Fidelity:

'Conan the Barbarian'

'Fright Night'

'Final Destination 5'

'30 Minutes or Less'

'The Change-Up'

'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'