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Sally (Kim Darby) and Alex (Jim Hutton) are in the process of moving
into the house of her deceased grandparents, when Sally finds a sealed up
furnace in the constantly locked basement, and decides to open it despite
the confusing and confused warnings of her carpenter Harris (William
Demarest). Of course, nothing happens when she first opens the furnace,
what was supposed to happen? It's only that Sally starts to see ... well,
something. She first suspects mice, but that's rather unlikely, the house
was literally just fumigated. Alex on the other hand just thinks she is
nervous, due to their move, due to the fact that he's hardly at home due
to his job, due to the dinnerparty they are going to have the next day
that will almost certainly result in his promotion, due to whatever else.
the dinner party, things come to a head when she at the first time sees
these little things that have been worrying her for real, little demons
that look menacing enough to scare the living shit out of her. Of course
nobody else sees the demons, which makes her husband angry that she spoilt
his all-important dinner party, but also worried about her state of mind.
He thinks she's slowly going mad, actually, only her level-headed friend
Joan (Barbara Anderson) figures there must be more to her claims ...
the little creatures kill Sally's decorator (Pedro Armendáriz jr) using
trip wire, and now Sally knows they are really after her, and are
intelligent, too ...
Joan manages to convince Alex that there is truth
in Sally's crazy claims about these little people, so he decides to fetch
Harris, who apparently knows more about the creatures than he cares to
admit, while Joan stays with Sally - but the creatures manage to drug
Sally, then lock Joan out, and drag Sally to the furnace. When Joan, with
the help of Alex and Harris, finally manages to break back into the house
again, it's already too late, the three of them just see Sally
disappearing in the furnace, and they can do nothing more than to seal it
shut again, like it should have stayed in the first place ...
this is a made-for-television movie, it's quite ok, it features an
interesting story that doesn't lose itself in useless explanation but
leaves enough in the dark (no pun intended) to keep one interested, and it
features a compact cast and simple yet effective effects to carry the
story. But of course, on the other hand the movie just doesn't let you
forget that it was made for television, the direction is disappointingly
flat, slightly impersonal, and a bit too atmosphere-free at times to
All that said, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is
still a quite ok movie, it's just not what it could have been.