Afraid of the Dark
Film: Afraid of the Dark
Director: Mark Peploe
Writer: Mark Peploe and Frederick Seidel
Starring: James Fox, Fanny Ardant and Paul McGann
This film begins with a small boy sitting on his bed; the boy is played by Ben Keyworth. He is looking off in the distance. We learn that his mother is played by Fanny Ardant and she is blind. His father is played by James Fox and he is a police officer. Fox comes home and tells Ardant that a man attacked a blind woman, cutting her cheek with a razor. Ardant is upset and doesn’t want Fox to tell Keyworth, but he is listening in.
We also learn that there is a neighbor who owns a dog named Toby who Keyworth loves, spends a lot of time with and feeds. Keyworth also has issues with taking things that aren’t his and he loves Spider-man.
Ardant asks Keyworth what he is going to do on the first day of his vacation and he wants to go to school his mother spends a lot of time at. This school has a bunch of different blind people who do activities together. Ardant doesn’t want him to be bored, but he insists and goes with her.
Keyworth meets Ardant’s friend, who is played by Rose Holman. Ardant and Holman talk about the attack. Holman is getting ready to leave to get her picture taken with her fiancé. Keyworth gets spooked by the window washer played by Struan Rodger. Keyworth doesn’t trust him.
Keyworth escorts Holman and they get ice cream. They then go to the photographer together; he is played by Paul McGann. Keyworth leaves, but watches what happens through a window. Another blind woman walks by and Keyworth follows her, spooking her. She goes inside of her house and is relieved. Keyworth goes into another house and steals a telescope. The blind woman is attacked inside her home.
Back at the school, Keyworth returns to his mother. His father comes in and tells them what has happened. He also informs them that they are going to change the locks on everyone’s apartments, since the school has helped them to pay for the places. Keyworth goes with Holman again and they meet the man changing the lock, he is played by David Thewlis. Keyworth doesn’t trust him.
That night Keyworth goes out at night looking for Toby and stumbles upon the attacker. He is chased by him, but Keyworth gets away. He finds a ladder leading to a window and looks inside. Keyworth sees Holman posing nude for McGann. McGann turns out to be the attacker and Keyworth goes in. He saves her by stabbing him in the eye.
We shift back to Keyworth in his bedroom. He has a knitting needle and he is tapping on a lens of his glasses. We learn that Ardant isn’t really blind. Holman is his stepsister. His dad, Fox, is a florist. Ardant is also pregnant. Holman is engaged to be married that day to McGann.
Keyworth has a condition that he is slowly going blind. He needs new glasses that are ready for him. He also needs to decide whether or not to have surgery to prevent him from going blind. It might not work though.
Keyworth has an obsession with sight, blindness and violence. When he takes his glasses off, he sees things different. He is beginning to lose himself in his own delusions. What is real and what’s not? Is Keyworth going to lose himself to a violent nature or can be stopped?
I want to say that this isn’t the greatest film out there, but I was interested. At first I thought it was going to be ‘who-done-it?’ where we need to figure out whom is the person attacking the blind. I was confused at first when it shifts, but once I realized it, it was my favorite part of it. I love that this kid has an issue where he is going blind. He also has a tendency toward violence, as his fantasies have it in them. It is also interesting that when he takes his glasses off, he sees everyone else as blind and he can see.
What I didn’t like is that there are a lot of things that can be confusing about this film. It didn’t really bother me, but some things aren’t explained. I also think there is quite a bit that is assumed by the characters. I think the acting isn’t all that great which contributes to that.
If you want to see an interesting horror film I would watch this one. It isn’t all that scary, but the idea is. This child is losing his vision and is losing himself in his delusions to cope. Parents will be bothered by this and what he decides to do. I would give this one a chance and see what you think of it. The story is good, the concept is solid and the acting is good enough to make it enjoyable.
My Rating: 7 out of 10