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3.5 out of 5 stars109
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 13 March 2014
A young girl is sent to live with her estranged father and his girlfriend at their new home.

The father, Alex has plans to spruce up the home with the help of his interior decorator girlfriend, Kim.

The previous owner of the home was a famous painter who mysteriously disappeared.

Alex's daughter, Sally, soon discovers the cause of the painter's disappearance.....

This is one of those films that has a famous Autuers name on some producing credit to give the movie that little bit more gravitas.

Del Toro stated that he wanted to make this as it was his favourite TV mini series of the seventies. And good grief is the film bad.

Like the re-make of 'The Haunting' the house is beautiful and so are the sets, but you come to see a horror movie to be scared, or be put under a little tension, not to see anorexic gremlins bully a little girl.

Pearce and Holmes have zero chemistry and the only reason this hasn't got one star is because, to my knowledge the first time that Mike and Jim Robinson from hit Aussie soap 'Neighbours' have been in the same room on the big screen.

otherwise, it's dull, don't let the Del Toro credit fool you.
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The movie opens with a spoiler by letting us know something evil is in the basement of a home.

I enjoyed the animated aspect of the credits. It gave the movie that classic 1960's feel. Afterwards we have Guy Pearce moving into the same home with his young melancholy daughter, Sally, who would prefer to be with her mom in LA. She also has an instant dislike of Katie Holmes, dad's girlfriend. Eventually the family discovers the basement, which had been sealed. The area is famous for its sink holes that go deep into the earth. Sally is fascinated with shaft/tunnel in the basement.

The movie initially keeps you in suspense as to what is in the basement and which travels through the old ventilation system. Good suspense. Good creepy story. Good child acting. Great movie to show when the girls want to have a sleep over. And then when things are good and tense, flip the breaker off and let everything go dark.

No f-bombs, sex, or nudity. Try not to think too deep and enjoy this one.
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on 8 March 2012
A typical movie in the Del Toro style. Spooky and atmospheric, and even after the movie I am thinking about it (later at night when things are going bump! lol) - definitely not one for the kids (it isn't gory - just jumpy in parts). As I was watching it - parts of it reminded me of gremlins, but the spookiness, creepiness and atmospheric style of the movie was great. Dark and creepy sets, lovely music score, good acting and a good old fashioned spooky story - a great film.
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The tale, a couple are doing up an old house which unbeknown to them has a dark history.
When eight year old 'Sally' (Bailee Madison) is flown in from 'L.A' to join her father 'Alex' (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend 'Kim' (Katie Holmes), the problems are about to be released by her inquisitive investigations into her new surroundings.
Small, Evil, Hunchbacked-Goblins want just one thing----'Sally'
Maybe the suspense and element of suprise that might have emerged in the film is shown far too soon ?
This sort of stuff is a pretty frequently visited tale in one form or another, wouldn't describe it as 'scary' to be honest....
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on 29 September 2015
Here we have a good proper scary film that makes you jump and not look what's under the bed.
It's not a horror film with blood and guts though there is a little blood in one scene, but this film is a good old fashion horror and Guillermo makes another great film but this time in English as normally his films are in French.
He made me think of pans labyrinth for a bit when the little girl is walking through the woods and he has used young children in his films before. But he's picked a real corker of an actress in this one as I found she did a fantastic job as Sally in this story.
I can't wait for another of Guillermo's films
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on 18 February 2012
Del Toro is renowned for delivering visually stunning and unsettling films, you only have to look at Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy to know that he is a seriously talented and has a boundless imagination. However Del Toro acts as producer and writer on this film and allows Troy Nixey to direct, and he does so very well. The intial set up is very well done and the opening immediately instills dread and fear. He then proceeds to deliver some brilliant set pieces and makes use of Del Toro's imagination and script to draw the viewer into the creepy, gothic manor that increases the sense of fantasy, dread and horror. The protagonist, a little girl, soon stumbles upon the houses dark secret and into the basement where the ash pit of the fire place, or whatever is inside, begins to whisper to her. Nixey doesn't show the creatures immediately, instead opting to have them in partial shadow or as silhouettes beneath the bed and in the air vents. When the creatures are revealed they are admittedly not too scary, but they are disturbing in their mannerisms and desire for children's teeth. The acting is not bad, Katie Holmes is decent as the stepmother who ends up believing, Guy Pearce is alright with his role as the disbelieving father that is rather cliched but ultimately necessary. However it is Bailee Maddison as Sally who really shines.
While this film is jumpy in places and offers some decent gruesome, shocking moments it never goes all out scary and makes you want to leave the lights on. But possibly this was a wise move, rather than giving us the cliched slasher, killer, blood all over the place horror we get an hour and a half of tension, well crafted chills and jumps that ultimately go on to make this one of the best creature horrors i have ever seen. Though it's got Del Toro's fingerprints all over it, Nixey does make it his own and never lets the fantasy be too overbearing and unbelievable and delivers enoughn chills and scares too keep you gripped the whole way through.
Extra features include a couple of decent featurettes that explains the creating of the creatures and the story and some interviews with the cast.
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on 21 October 2015
another Great Guillermo del Torro Movie, this gave me the creeps,

...don't let the ancient and unholy presence beckon you into the hidden basement, because you can never leave...

if you don't like scary things happening to little children then don't watch this, don't watch Guillermo del Torro full stop as most of his movies are in this tyle
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on 28 February 2012
I quite enjoyed this in a funny sort of way (spoiler upcoming) especially with the little troll type midgety beasties running about trying to steal children's teeth and living in the cellar. The story concentrates on the little girl which is okay because she's a talented actress and because of her age, you find yourself sympathising with the situations she finds herself in.

Well worth watching if you like horror films and the goblin type creatures are great!
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on 13 January 2013
Little girl, sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend, begins to hear whispery voices from within the walls of the very big house they have been modernising. Before you can say Gremlins her new pals turn out to be a long way from cuddly - hunchback furry elves from hell who need childrens teeth to survive and one human kill each time they surface.

To be honest the scary bits are more LOL than frightening - and if it was not quite so graphic in its 'attack' scenes this would be great for kids of 12+

The ending is very unsatisfactory too.

Enjoyable nonsense but not what you would call a good horror film.
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on 8 September 2013
I know it's apparently a remake but it has Del Toro all over it,similar to Pan's Labyrinth it has a problematic/troubled child finding a secret place that causes troubles etc.I'm no great fan of overt CGI or gore/swearing and this has none'it's a 'simple' scary story with some well designed critters in it,I cringed at the bits where He almost gets poked in the eye and being an artist myself,loved the illustrations and especially the creepy mural,a quiet surprise.I did mark it down one star for the rather abrupt ending ,I would have liked to see the creature's comeuppance and Kim's 'demise' but overall I liked it a lot.
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