Sunday, March 16, 2014

Character Spotlight- Sally Hurst & Sally Farnham- Kim Darby & Bailee Madison- Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973 & 2011)

**This post contains spoilers**

Trying something new for my Character Spotlight series with a double-dose. Today, it's all about Kim Darby's Sally Farnham (the first pic) from the original Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973), and Bailee Madison's Sally Hurst from the 2011 remake. They share the same first name, but Sally Farnham and Sally Hurst travel two different paths during their battles with the little creatures. Let's get to it!

I'll start with Kim Darby's Sally Farnham. Sally inherited an old house from her deceased grandmother. Sally, and her husband Alex (Jim Hutton) are trying to renovate the spooky old house with some help from Mr. Harris (William Demarest), but Sally ignores Harris' stern warning, when she removes a bolted cover on the old fireplace in the study. Sally unleashes a pack of miniature creatures, who live in the fireplace, and Sally is a target for the creature's sinister plans. 

Darby's Sally is the quiet stay-at-home wife, and Alex is the domineering and strict husband, but he refuses to believe Sally's stories of little creatures running around the house. Darby is the stand out star with a show stealing performance in the original. Darby slowly unravels, as the creatures wreak havoc in the house, and Darby's panicky and frightened outbursts ("ALEX!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE!!!!") are spot on. And you can feel Sally's frustration with the creatures towards the end during a risky tug-of-war contest.

Bailee Madison's Sally is not a housewife. She's a young and lonely girl, and she's forced into an unfavorable situation. Sally Hurst starts a new life with her father, Alex (Guy Pearce), and his new girlfriend, Kim (Katie Holmes). Oh, and another pack of miniature creatures are hiding/living in the fireplace at Sally's new home. At first, Bailee Madison's Sally is this disrespectful brat, but as the story develops, you realize she's a scared little kid, who's struggling to adjust to her new life and her new surroundings (the creatures don't help). 

So who's the better Sally? Bailee Madison. Why? Because the writers (Guillermo del Toro & Matthew Robbins) added more layers to Sally's character for the 2011 film, and Madison nailed every layer. The disruptive brat, the lonely outcast, the fragile, homesick child, who’s begging for someone to understand her, and Sally uses her amateur drawings (including drawings of the creatures) to express herself. You name it, and Madison conquerors every obstacle in her way for Sally 2011. Labeling Sally 2011 as an obstacle with more hurdles is not a stretch at all, and Madison tackled the challenge with ease.

I don't have any big problems with the switcheroo changes for the remake. Sally is a child, Alex is divorced with a new girlfriend girlfriend, and there's a more extensive and thorough backstory for Jack Thompson's Mr. Harris and his family's history with the house, but you won't see any major changes for the Mr. Harris character (i.e. he's still the paranoid codger, who tries to warn everyone about the creatures).

BUT  you'll notice a big gap for differences during the finales. The changes? Sally Farnham suffers, but Sally Hurst escapes. In the original, Alex ignored Sally's pleas for help. Mr. Harris' story convinced Alex towards the end, but Alex ran out of time, because the creatures captured Sally, and Sally was forced into an imprisonment in the fireplace as a creature.

In the remake, Kim pushed Alex to leave the house, because Kim believed Sally's stories. After Sally's breakdown at a party, Alex FINALLY listens to Sally and Kim, and they come to a decision to leave the house together. But Kim, Sally, and Alex run into a too little, too late problem. The creatures launch a systematic attack to eliminate Alex and Kim, and they capture Sally with some help from a rope. Kim fights the creatures to save Sally from a life in the fireplace, but Kim suffered for her sacrifice. With a strong group effort, the creatures pull Kim into the fireplace (in one of the most cringeworthy moments you'll ever see in any type of film) as their prisoner, but Sally and Alex escaped together.

Fans of Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark 1973 should experience an eerie feeling of deja vu during the finales. Remember, as one of the creatures (presumably, because they don't show any images for Sally in the fireplace) in the original, Sally reassured her new family with a simple message for more victims, and another poor, clueless soul opening the fireplace. They have "all the time in the world" to wait for another victim. In the remake, Kim repeats Sally Farnham's warning with the creatures.

So if you're placing a bet on the first one to escape, who would you choose? Sally Farnham or Kim? I'll put my money on Sally Farnham. Why? Think about it like this, Alex, Joan ( Barbara Anderson), and Mr. Harris never had the chance to actually see the creatures, and they didn't witness the chaos during Sally's disappearance, so they'll remember a freak freak accident WITHOUT any fears for the unknown in a fight against the creatures. And let's be honest, I'm not the only one, who's curious about a "first look" for creature Sally or creature Kim, right?

If you're interested, you can follow this link to read my spoiler review for Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973)-

And you can follow this link for my Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (2011) spoiler review-

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