Sam Strange Remembers: DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK

The cutest, most bloodless R-rated horror film you'll ever see.  

On Friday August 19th, 2011, I released a third Spy Kids film unto the world. But, for whatever reason, no kids wanted to watch it. Having found myself several million dollars in the hole, I needed to come up with a classic Sam Strange out of left field plan to save the day.

So I asked my good pal and economics wizard Paul Ryan what I should do. He told me this: "Sam, to make money back from the Spy Kid picture, you need to make an R-rated movie that will appeal to children. That way they'll buy a ticket for Spy Kid, and then sneak into the other film."

I didn't do the math, so it all sounded pretty good. In order to make Spy Kids 3 a success, I had to make an R-rated film for children. So this is how Don't Be Afraid of the Dark came to be. I realize most adults out there were curious.

Don't be Afraid of the Dark is about a little girl named Siri. She is not at all likable. Her mother doesn't even want her anymore. Normally, that's a narrative shorthand for a bad mother, but here it's just a narrative shorthand for sanity. This is perhaps the most sour child in film history. Both her face and her attitude resembles Anne Ramsey sucking on a lemon while stubbing her toe on a dead baby's head. The single scariest moment in this film arrives when she finally smiles, forcing all Atheists in the audience to confront Satan for the first time.

Since her mother has completely given up on her, Siri must live with her father, Peter Weyland. A man of great industry and resources, Peter lives in a massive mansion, the kind of house big enough for wings. Living with him is his hot, much younger girlfriend Kate Hudson (played by Katie Holmes). Peter doesn't really want to be Siri's dad, but he figures he has enough bedrooms and land that she can live with him without crossing his path much. Kate, on the other hand, is young and idealistic, so she wants to be Siri's new mommy. Siri accepts her challenge.

It also needs to be said that Peter has some amazingly awful hair. It's really short in the front and just a bit longer than needed in the back. Basically, he has a yuppie mullet, something I didn't know existed. It plays well with his role as a dumb dick in his film.

So Siri has all this time and space to wander around. The first thing she does with her freedom is break into parts of the mansion specifically obscured for her own safety. See, no one really knows this but the groundskeeper, but the Weyland mansion is lousy with cute little monsters. They are just so freaking adorable. They kind just of hop around poking people with things. If they catch you, they get to eat your teeth. If you catch them, you can squash them with Moby Dick like flies. Or you can make them have tea time together. They hate that, but their little grumpy faces just make them that much more adorable.

Besides their unfortunate size, the sweetie pies have another weakness. They're afraid of light. So if a bunch of them are on your back, just turn on a light or walk in front of a window. They have cute little tools to help turn off lights from safe distances away, but we're talking about unbent paper clips and things like that. Overall, their arsenal remains pretty limited.

Since Siri has teeth, they start in on her immediately. First, just like in the original version of this film, Little Monsters, they just raise havoc around the house just to get Siri in trouble with Peter and Kate.

Soon they get bored, though. Before long, they're coming up through the toilet and jumping on Siri's back and making her scream a bunch, which doesn't alarm anyone since that's how she sounds normally. Kate or Peter save her each time, but for some reason they can never remember what happened the next day. Even when the little buggers stab the groundskeeper a bunch of times (not to death, remember this is a kids film) the adults immediately forget anything weird is going on.

Meanwhile, Kate keeps trying to be Siri's mom. It turns out the only way she can get in Siri's good graces is to die protecting her from the dumb little fairies. She's willing to do it, but it is no easy task given how non-threatening the little guys are. Kate stands around letting them stab her. When that doesn't work (their knives are less than an inch long) she cuts her own wrist to speed things up. When that doesn't work (they stab her with threaded needles, accidentally stitching her up), she lays on the ground so they can drag her into their Hell hole. When that doesn't work (they're not strong enough to lift or pull her) she just jumps to her death, finally winning Siri's affection.

Peter comes home from the barbershop only realize his trophy girlfriend is gone and yet his mean looking daughter remains. So he runs away.

Kids hated this movie when it came, calling it bloodless and boring. Fuck Paul Ryan. Vote Biden.

(three stars)

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