It's a cautionary tale straight out of a mother's mouth: "If you don't brush your teeth, monsters will creep into your mouth at night and devour them like candy." But Guillermo del Toro's rated-R version is less cavity, more cryptic.
Based on a 1973 TV movie with the same name, Friday's "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce, features the same hollow whispers from menacing monsters trapped behind brick fireplaces, only now those creatures are out for innocent, bright-white baby teeth.
But even with del Toro's new spin on what he said was the scariest movie he'd ever seen as a kid, the producer told MTV News some things always stay the same.
"In horror films, there are only two dynamics. One is what I call hide and seek, meaning there's a lot of tension. If you're searching, you're really tense about opening the door and somebody jumping out of the closet that was hiding.
"And if you're hiding in the closet, you're really afraid when you hear footsteps nearby," he added. "And then tag, when the person finally comes out, and you're going to chase them to tag them."
With a mind as complicated and fantastical as Pan's Labyrinth, you'd expect del Toro to have a more intricate stream of thought. But the method behind his moviemaking is simply, well, simple.
"I do sort of a tag, hide and seek, hide and seek, hide and seek, tag, tag, tag," he explained. "So that's the rhythm of the movie in a horror genre. You just pace it like that."
Check out everything we've got on "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark."
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