It sounds like a latter-day version of "The Odd Couple" -- petite, American actress Katie Holmes (Mrs. Tom Cruise) paired with portly Mexican writer/director Guillermo del Toro, a gothic horror film devotee known for "Hellboy" and "Blade" franchises.
Rather it is a serious scare-fest that also stars Guy Pearce and Bailee Madison and an army of evil little creatures who invade an old house and terrorize its occupants.
Holmes and del Toro recently sat down with Reuters to talk about the film, what scares them (and Tom), and why people get a kick from being afraid in movie theaters.
Q: Katie, are you a big horror fan?
Holmes: "Yes, I like classic horror films. But I'm not a big slasher, gory type of horror film fan."
Del Toro: "No. I always try to create very strong female characters, in many cases stronger than the guys. Certainly in 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark.'"
Q: What's the secret to a really effective horror film?
Del Toro: "I think characters, good characters. The scares of course are necessary but it's the human characters."
Holmes: "I agree. Q: So what scares you?
Del Toro: (laughs) "Politicians -- a lot. Oh my God that's scary. Holmes: "Oh yes. Holmes: (laughs) "Well, he had to watch another movie afterwards in order to go to sleep because he was so scared. (laughs) Del Toro: "I think it was that Adam Sandler comedy, '(You)Don't Mess With The Zohan'."
Q: You have to protect your character's daughter in the movie. Holmes: (Laughs) "I don't know. Do you like to be scared at movies?
Holmes: "I do and I like to be affected when I watch a film. The film stars Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes as real-estate developers attempting to re-vamp the dilapidated abode. McKeand’s teleplay has been thoroughly Del Toro-ized, with the focus shifting to Pearce’s precocious daughter Sally, played by sad-eyed Bailee Madison. I hate to sound like such a logic Nazi when discussing a horror movie, and if Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark moved a little faster it would be easier to overlook the massive credibility gaps. Director: Troy Nixey
Starring: Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce and Bailee Madison.
On the Melbourne, Australia set of the new scare-flick "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," instituting green practices was a bit of an uphill battle, admits producer Mark Johnson. Off set however, star Katie Holmes and screenwriter-producer Guillermo del Toro are quite eco-conscious. Del Toro refers to his daughter, 10, as "the green police. Del Toro's screenplay for "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," opening Aug. 26, changed the "exasperatingly passive" adult character Kim Darby played in the 1973 TV movie version to a child (Bailee Madison), who discovers monsters live in the house she's moved into with her father and his new girlfriend. Holmes responded to her character's strength, the mother-child dynamic and the chance to do a horror film and work with Del Toro. Del Toro's next directing gig will be the 2013 project "Pacific Rim," an effects-laden aliens vs. robots extravaganza. "It's the biggest movie I've done by far," he says.