Supposedly losing-your-teeth dreams mean high anxiety, so it’s no surprise that I’ve had more than a few of them. Bloody gums, teeth falling through your fingers kind of dreams. Teeth turning into shards of glass dreams. Yes, those dreams. The most memorable of them, perhaps, being the one in which, against my will, I snipped off my front teeth with nail clippers. Maybe the only sorts of dreams that bother me more are the things-happening-to-your-eyes dreams. I’m explaining this because in the first few minutes of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, a film written and produced by Guillermo del Toro, a twitchy old man with a hammer and spike knocks the teeth out of the mouth of a screaming woman pinned under his knees.
In other words, del Toro has my number. Again. First it was the eyeballs-in-the-palms creature loping after Ofelia in Pan’s Labyrinth and now this, a film about sinister little beings in the walls, hungry for freshly pried-out teeth. Directed by Troy Nixey in his first feature film, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is based on the 1973 made-for-television movie of the same name, which del Toro claims was the scariest film he’d seen as a child.