There’s seem to have been an all out hate-fest on this film and I not going to try rebalance it with my own views on the film .Sure it’s not a classic and maybe it isn’t as good as the original made for TV film that I have never seen or heard about or even heard anyone talking about. I have to just give an honest assessment of how I found the film I watched with no regard to other people’s views on it and I found it was a creepy film that was well acted but perhaps let down some hoary old clichés making an appearance in the writing.
In a short prologue we learn that an artist called Blackwood had his young son stolen from him by a race of ugly tiny creatures who can’t stand bright light and live behind a grate in his cellar. He kills one of servants to give them the teeth that they are after but they told him they only want children’s’ teeth and they take him instead.
Eight-year-old Sally (Bailee Madison) is flown across the country to stay with her father Alex (Guy Pearce) and his partner Kim (Katie Holmes) in their big old house that they have bought to restore and sell on. Alex is an ambitious architect who wants to use the restoration as a demonstration of his skills to potential clients. While he loves his daughter he’s not very happy that his ex-wife has dumped Sally on him during a time that is important in his career. Kim is uncomfortable helping Alex look after Sally since she has no experience with children and worries about getting it wrong. Sally knows all this so she’s feeling a bit unloved.
Sally goes exploring the garden of the house and she hears voices whispering her name, the voices of the nasty little creeps from the prologue. Sally follows voices that leads her to a window to basement that neither Alex of Kim new existed but we saw this place in the prologue. It’s the place where the servant was killed and there’s the grate with the little creatures sealed up behind it. Sally is fascinated by the voices and when no-one is looking she sneaks down into the basement with a wrench and unscrews the bolts holding the grate in place. Harris the gardener goes back down later to put the grate in place because he knows what’s behind it, but the little creatures attack him and he ends up badly injured in hospital.
The creatures are after Sally and they appear in her room, whispering nasty little half-truths about how her parents don’t want her but they do. At first she thinks the creatures are friendly but its not long before their hostile nature shows. When they rip up Kim’s clothes her father he blames Sally but Kim doubts she did it. The creatures attack her in her bath and still her father blames her but Kim knows she is showing signs of genuine fear. Alex insists on calling in a psychiatrist who prescribes pills to make her less annoying to Alex. This leaves Sally feeling so alone and desperate that she calls her mother and pleads with her to let her come back home but her mother brushes her off. Naturally she is terrified because she thinks she is on her own against creatures that want to steal her away to some unknown but no doubt horrible fate.
This film had a lot real nice scary atmospheric scenes and Bailee Madison was very convincing as Sally. There were a few clunky bit of exposition but I’m not too put off by that and it didn’t drag me out of the film. The CGI creatures were definitely scarier when they were in dark than when we get to see them but they were okay.