Katie Holmes in 'Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark': What Critics Say

Miramax Films

One reviewer notes, "a terrified Katie Holmes looks not that different from the everyday version," while another applauds her "sensitive performance."

Katie Holmes stars opposite Guy Pearce and Bailee Madison in the Troy Nixey directed Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. 

The reboot centers around a 9-year-old girl, Sally (Madison), who lives with her father, an ambitious architect Alex Hurst (Pearce), and his interior decorator girlfriend Kim (Holmes).

REVIEW: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

While the movie has received mixed reviews, critics have tepid comments regarding Holmes' performance.

"Holmes is there for a little eye candy and a little stepmothering (the good, not the evil, kind), but frankly, she's usually more arresting in celebrity magazines than she is on-screen. And the critters — they are much better before we see them. Once you know what Alex, Sally and Kim are up against, the fear gives way to boredom, then frustration when they don't get the job done," writes film critic Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times.

"But if you’ve always wondered what the tooth fairies want with all those teeth — or if you just need proof that a terrified Katie Holmes looks not that different from the everyday version — this is the movie for you," says New York Times reviewer Jeannette Catsoulis.

"Holmes is fine in the film as the de facto stepmother that eventually forms a bond with Sally but Pearce’s character is completely useless," says Indie Wire.

"Holmes, often fine performers, here stoop to the kind of Amityville Horror acting in which every line gets highlighted and overstated," says  Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly. "Of course, it's the kind of cheesy acting you can forgive when a horror film delivers, but Don't Be Afraid of the Dark grows less suspenseful as it goes on."

VIDEO: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

"Adults being mainly an obstacle in this sort of tale, it's not inappropriate that Pearce and Holmes both offer thin performances," writes says John DeFore of the Washington Post.

USA Today reviewer Claudia Puig says that the actors didn't have chemistry together: "Their chemistry is negligible, which wouldn't matter if the movie was truly scary. But as is, it's hard to care about the one-dimensional adults involved."

"Holmes -- whose acting is often overwhelmed by her Mrs. Tom Cruise fame -- delivers a sensitive performance as Kim gradually builds a tender, hesitant rapport with Sally. Still, there are problems with the characters and story here that the cast can't fix," writes Salon's Andrew O'Hehir.

Written by acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins, the script is based on the 1973's ABC television movie written by Nigel McKeand.