Are You Afraid of the Dark? (2019) review

are-you-afraid-of-the-dark-reboot

When the news first broke that Nickelodeon was resurrecting popular kids horror series ‘Are you Afraid of the Dark’ as a feature film, nostalgic adults who remember the show rejoiced everywhere.

Family horror is making a comeback of sorts with the popularity of Stranger Things and the Goosebump series, it feels like the right time to revisit the Midnight Society.

But does the formula work as well in 2019?

In the main, yes, is the short answer. This reboot carves its own path during its limited series arc, paying homage to the past but bringing the story into the modern-day.

Firstly we see an origin of sorts for the Midnight Society class of 2019, and whereas the series previously focussed on one story per week, here we are given an all-encompassing narrative across three episodes.

When Rachel joins a new school, she is having vivid nightmares about a mysterious carnival featuring the villainous Mr. Tophat (played with verve by Rafael Casal).

In Tophat, this series has a classic ‘Dark’ villain who is playful, yet deadly with the flip of facial expression. Some scenes lend themselves to the terror evoked by IT’s Pennywise the Clown and others feel straight out of a children’s version of A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Tophat’s Carnival is stealing children from each town it goes to, but for what purpose? This becomes clear in time, with the results guaranteed to chill younger viewers.

The opener lays the groundwork with episode 2 raising the stakes before the Midnight Society must band together to stop this Carnival from Hell from hurting anyone else.

The set design here is first-rate and it feels like Nickelodeon is testing the water with a limited series before next year’s feature film, to see how audiences react to the new Midnight Society.

Safe to say the results are gripping and engrossing, making this one story worth staying up until midnight to watch.

 

 

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