Creator(s) – BenDavid Grabinski (Happily, Blindspotting), Ned Kandel (Chris Cross, Swans Crossing), and D.J. MacHale (The Wonderful World of Disney, The Strange Legacy of Cameron Cruz)
Starring – Lyliana Wray (Black-ish, The Night Shift), Jeremy Ray Taylor (It, It: Chapter Two), and Sam Ashe Arnold (My Mother’s Killer Boyfriend, Creeped Out)
Release Date – 2019
Rating – 3/5
Tagline – “A limited series event”
Most of my horror loving friends condemn the 90s but I fully embrace. Sure, the 80s are my favorite decade for a number of reasons but I grew up in the 90s and I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for the decade. I grew up in video stores and collecting Pogs, Sega Genesis games, and so much more. When I was in the fourth grade I discovered Goosebumps and soon I was obsessed with cryptozoology, Stephen King, and Are You Afraid of the Dark?.
The original AYAotD is a classic series that most horror fans credit for their love of the genre. When news of the revival broke many were skeptical of it. I, however, was excited to see a more modern take on the classic show. Hell, if I didn’t like it I was still excited for my children to have their own incarnation of the show. When I received the press release recently I quickly requested a review copy and they were kind enough to send a copy my way.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a new girl in town who has a taste for drawing dark pictures and horror movies. This catches the eye of several students who are secretly members of The Midnight Society. They test her to see if she really belongs and when she passes she is forced to tell a story. She spins a story about an evil carnival that comes to town. The following day her story comes to life. **Spoiler alert**
I was pretty excited for this one. I couldn’t wait to toss it in and be taken back…but I wasn’t. Before you take this the wrong way just know that this was a pretty solid mini-series. However, that eerie tone and score that I grew up loving just isn’t the same. Sure, it may deliver the same feelings to my children like the original show did for me but it just didn’t hit the same.
The acting in this one is pretty damn good. The last few years I’ve seen so many amazing movies and shows featuring a remarkably young cast. The hit Netflix series Stranger Things and the new adaptation of Stephen Kings’ It has a remarkable cast. The same can be said about the reboot of AYAotD. The young cast is great in their roles and the characters work for the story. They all have their own unique personalities that brings something different to the mini-series.
The story for this one could really fit into the old series very well. However, it was way too long and very lackluster for the length. If it was the length of a typical feature length I could see the story working a little better. Also, the tone of the film is not as suspenseful and dark as the original run. I recently revisited the original series and it still holds up very well. However, this one just can’t reach that level of horror.
Finally, if you are looking for blood and gore you are in the wrong spot. The film is very story and character driven and does not rely on the practical and visual effects. Overall, Are You Afraid of the Dark? does not hold a candle to the original run but it was still an entertaining watch. If you have kids then I highly suggest you grab it and watching it with them. This reboot is not for those of us that grew up with the series but for our children so we can have something that we can share with them that speaks to their generation. Check it out.