For fans of haunted houses, evil gremlins and tormented children, "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" is a bagful of joys. But prepare to keep the nightlight on after you see it.
A remake of the 1973 made-for-TV movie, this version was produced by Guillermo del Toro, whose 2006 "Pan's Labyrinth" drew praise for its haunting, fantastical, and occasionally terrifying portrayal of a young girl in early Francoist Spain. Directed by comic book artist Troy Nixey, the movie is the harrowing tale of a young girl, Sally Hirst, who moves into a new house with her father (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend (Katie Holmes), only to discover that the previous occupants have not yet left -- and aren't quite human.
Sally, played by Bailee Madison, spends the movie pursued by the creatures of the house, who have more sinister motives than simply looking for a new playmate.
The 11-year-old Bailee -- who is currently on location in a cornfield in Vancouver, shooting her second episode of R.L. Stines' "The Haunting Hour" -- already has a slew of acting credits to her name, from guest-starring roles on "CSI: NY" and "House" to family films such as "Bridge to Terabithia."
The Huffington Post spoke with Bailee about learning how to scream convincingly and what it was like having Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes as her stand-in parents.
How did you first get involved with the film?
I was so excited! When I had the script on my table, and I looked at it, the first thing I look at is the location and date. I went on Google and I saw Australia and it looked like so much fun. I auditioned for the part, and I was blessed enough to get it.
It doesn't look like you're done a scary movie before. Were you at all apprehensive about it?
No, I'd never done a scary film before and I'd never worked with something that's not there, so I tried my best to get into the character.
I asked my mom, "How do I do this scene?"
She said, "You've got this Bailee, and we'll say our prayers."
I said, "Can't you just help me?"
So I was taking a bath and the light went off and my heart was beating so fast, and my mom said, "There you go, you're ready!"
Were you allowed to see the movie when it was finished?
Yes I was. I'm fine with scary movies. I can handle it. I actually kind of like them -- not the gory stuff, but this is suspenseful and it keeps you on the edge of the seat. The scariest was for my mom and my agent because they don't like scary movies at all.
And do you have any favorite scary movies?
I love "The Shining," and I love the movie 'The Birds' too.
What was the hardest thing you had to do, working on the film?
Well the set itself is pretty scary. We were very lucky to have such a great crew who took so much time and effort to create such realistic sets, so you were able to get into that character. I just had to work the hardest to become my character.
What scares you the most?
Oh my goodness, I don't know! I feel like there are always scary things that happen during this business. There are sometimes times when you don't know how you'll come out in a movie, how it'll do. That's my biggest fear right now. You never now how an audience is going to react.
What were your favorite parts of filming?
I loved the very technical and stunt scenes. I love doing stuntwork-- being ragged by ropes, getting the makeup for bruises, that was really fun. I got to meet Katie Holmes and she was fantastic and made the set so much fun.
How'd she do that?
She was such a light and a personality. She turned such dark and eerie moments on set into fun. My mom and I were so far from home -- we had tea parties and went to Broadway shows and dancing and bowling.
And what was Guy Pearce like as a stand-in dad?
He was super fun and we got to bond over history. By the end of it he gave me a history book that I got to read.
What was your biggest challenge as an actress?
Each day was a little bit hard. I had never had to experience those emotions and go outside of myself and screaming -- I don't scream every day, which is a good thing. To do that with such deep emotional thought was a challenge.
Any dream roles?
I love to cook, so maybe a 'Julie and Julia' remake?
Watch a trailer for "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" below: