Troy Nixey

Why Watch? This rust-covered short film gives us an insight into 1) a new filmmaker’s work and 2) how that filmmaker caught the attention of a famous production team. Troy Nixey‘s first feature film Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark hit theaters this weekend, and with this gem, it’s easy to see why he was recruited – the antique production design, the camera work dialed in to a sense of creaky wooden environmental horror, the tiny little creatures. Even the design of the main baddie probably got Guillermo del Toro to raise an eyebrow and smile. What does it cost? Just 17 minutes of your time. Check out Latchkey’s Lament for yourself:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr moved into an old, creepy house with the wife of an uber-famous movie star. But then she started hearing voices in the walls, so he bailed on that noise and found a new main squeeze. She turned out to be a full-blown psychotic assassin bent on revenge and blood. The plus side is that she was the spitting image of Zoe Saldana, so Kevin thought it might be worth the risk. This, of course, did not end well, but he considered himself lucky because he didn’t have to sit through Our Idiot Brother. Oh, and apparently Transformers: The Dark of the Moon is returning to IMAX screens… but does anyone care about that at all?

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It’s been hyped up, hotly anticipated and pushed hard by the big name behind it, but at the end of the day Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is just not that scary. Sure, Troy Nixey’s haunted house movie — co-produced and co-scripted by Guillermo Del Toro — has the high end bonafides, revealed in the sumptuous wood-paneled mansion setting and the patient, operatic camera movements. It’s got the eerie historical aura, the tortured child and the expressionistic rendition of shadowy figures creeping through the darkness. But when this remake of a popular made-for-TV movie from 1973 finally shows all its cards, you wonder what you’ve missed. There’s a serious disconnect between the highfalutin atmospherics and the nitty- gritty sloppiness of the premise, a sort of People Under the Stairs for rich white New Englanders. Reliant on the timeless “boo” effect and the hint of something deeper and sinister, the film basically offers one long, drawn out exercise in scaring the pants off a pre-teen.

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Guy Pearce is really good at playing assholes. He can do the nice guy thing or the conflicted hero as well, but I love me some Pearce in a-hole mode. Earlier this year in the fantastic Mildred Pierce, he got to play one of the most charming emasculated men in recent screen history. In The King’s Speech, he was a snotty old brother all about having a good ‘ol time. So what does the smooth talker from Mildred Pierce and the jerk brother from The King’s Speech have in common? Humility. Pearce is not one to let a human character be a monster for no understandable reason. He’s also not interested in having pure distaste for the character’s skin he’s inhabiting. In the (finally) upcoming Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, he’s filling the shoes of the neglectful father. While Pearce doesn’t view him as an asshole, that’s the word that kept popping up in my head when the personable actor was describing him. Here’s what the actor had to say about playing un-nice guys, the Memento Effect, his banter with Nicolas Winding Refn, trusting directors, and working with hard-boiled dialog:

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This summer seems light on one thing: horror movies. While there is the surprisingly awesome looking Fright Night remake coming out, that looks to be far more interested in being fun and cool, rather than moody and intense. Where are the creepy horror films this season? There seems to be none this summer… except one that’s been flying under the radar for far too long: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. The Troy Nixey directed, Guillermo del Toro produced family vs. monsters film has taken its sweet time getting to the big screen, but come August, we’ll finally get a true horror film for the summer.

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One of the heartbreaking news moments of the past few months was seeing Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark – the horror remake from director Troy Nixey and producer Guillermo del Toro – get pushed back into indefinite shelving land. Fortunately, according to Variety, FilmDistrict has come to the rescue in order to send the film to 2,500 screens on August 12th, complete with its R-rating. January would have been great (if only to help save the month and let audiences see the scares earlier), but August is better than never. Plus, there’s nothing like a fall release for this kind of horror flick. Rejoice!

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The phrase “first time director” is a frightening thing of beauty. It represents potential and promise, but it also brings the same concerns that the phrases “first time barber” and “first time brain surgeon” might. The world has been fortunate as of late with some fantastic first timers – from Duncan Jones to Neill Blomkamp – and after seeing the footage from Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark at Comic-Con, Troy Nixey has the potential to join their ranks. After speaking with him, it’s clear that he has the mind and the fan status to deliver true horror. He talks the talk. Hopefully the movie will prove that he walks the walk. I was fortunate enough to eat hotel cookies and sit down with the newcomer during the madness of Comic-Con. In full earshot of producer Guillermo del Toro cursing and laughing with child-like wonder, Nixey spoke about the tone of the film, the creation of fear with suggestion, and the reverence for the horror of the late 70s and early 80s.

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As the lights and the noise went down in Hall H, the world caught its first glimpse of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. When the lights came back on, a bulk of the audience needed a moment to find a spare pair of slacks to slip into. Despite the massive disruption in the bathroom line – which included producer Guillermo del Toro claiming he’d messed himself – the footage impressed beyond measure. The remake of the 1973 made-for-tv horror classic (see right) has been on the radar for a while, but it earned a bigger spotlight with the creepy, suggestive atmosphere that evoked the kind of horror that always, always works with audiences but for some reason has fallen out of fashion by production houses. The description of the footage follows, so avoid it if you don’t like spoilers.

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It’s been a while since we’ve heard any movement on this, but horror and Del Toro fans should rejoice with the news that Miramax’s remake of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark has gotten a release date of its very own. And, unlike every superhero property out there, it’s a release that’s within the next 8 months. Mark your calendar and be ready to ring in the new year with some strange visitors that live in your basement.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
D+


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