Halloween is the unofficial start of the annual holiday season. Whether people want to admit that is up to them, but that is just the reality. In anticipation of Halloween’s return, Nickelodeon and Paramount brought the latest installment of its Are You Afraid of the Dark? reboot to DVD this month. Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows was released on DVD Aug. 10, a little less than six months after the latest installment first aired on Nickelodeon. This “second season” (Nickelodeon is actually calling it a season, but not this critic) is entertaining but imperfect in its new home presentation. Its primary positive comes through its main feature, which will be discussed shortly. While the six-part presentation does plenty to engage and entertain audiences, the lack of any bonus content with this season detracts from its presentation to a point. It is not enough to make the presentation a failure, though. It will be discussed a little later. Considering the DVD’s content and lack thereof, its pricing proves important in its own way to the whole of the presentation, too, and will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make this latest installment of Are You Afraid of the Dark? a mostly positive presentation.
Nickelodeon and Paramount’s recent home release of Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows is a mostly positive addition to the companies’ latest installment of the franchise’s reboot. Its appeal comes primarily through its main feature (which is actually its only feature). The main feature follows a new group of teens who take on the mantle of the Midnight Society as they fight for their own lives after being cursed in the “Haunted Woods” of their hometown, Shadow Bay. Yes, that is really the town’s name. This six-part story finds the teens trying to escape the clutches of the evil “Shadowman.” It is appealing in part because unlike the story in the reboot’s first installment, it is actually its own story. It is not one member’s story coming to life. This in itself makes suspension of disbelief a lot easier. Adding to the appeal is that the whole conflict centers on what the teens and so many others in the town thought was just an urban legend, but turned out to be real, as the Midnight Society’s members learn for themselves. This leads to so much great, immersive horror. As the story progresses, it provides plenty of surprises as to how the “Shadowman” came to be, and incorporates a lot of aspects that those in the paranormal enthusiast community will appreciate, such as demons and evil spirits being able to take on human form (especially that of children) in order to deceive people, the dangers of using dark magic, and how séances work. Through it all, those responsible for the writing make everything so believable while also managing somehow to be able to balance the feel of the original series with this very creepy story. There is even the matter of demonic possession in this story (not to give away too much), which is very scary in is own way. All things considered, what audiences get here is a story that is a huge step up from the first “season” of the reboot of Are You Afraid of the Dark?
As if the story overall is not enough, but the cast’s interpretation of the scripts adds its own share of appeal. Horror movies centered on teens are nothing new to the cinematic world. The teens cast for this movie do an excellent job of interpreting the script and adding to the story’s believability.
The cherry on the top (so to speak) is that audiences are able to watch the story at their own pace. Viewers can choose to watch the show one episode at a time or all in one. That option to watch at one’s own pace plays even more to the appeal. It will encourage viewers that much more, to fully engage themselves in the show, and in turn appreciate all that went into this story. When then is considered along with the cast’s work interpreting the script and the fully immersive, believable story, that whole more than gives audiences reason to watch this installment of Are You Afraid of the Dark? Of course for all of the positives presented through the presentation’s main feature, this DVD offering is not perfect. Its one main shortfall comes in the lack of any bonus content.
Unlike the DVD presentation of the first installment of the Are You Afraid of the Dark? reboot, this presentation features no episodes of the original Are You Afraid of the Dark? series. That presentation offered at least three episodes. By naming the episodes of this “season” “The Tale Of…”, those behind the franchise were being misleading. It leads viewers to think that there are bonus episodes, when in fact they are just the titles for this story’s episodes. Add in the fact that to this day, the original series still has received no official release either in standalone sets or even full series, and it just makes that lack hit even harder. Yes, audiences can get the original series’ seasons through DVD-R sets made available on-demand through a partnership between Nickelodeon and Amazon, but to this day, no true official sets have seen the light of day. Now the lack of any episodes from the original series here is not enough to doom the season, but it certainly would have been nice to have had that in there for fans of their original series and their children. To that end, this is a negative, but not enough to doom this DVD presentation. Keeping this in mind along with the content provided through the DVD’s main feature, it leads the DVD’s pricing to be its own positive point.
The average price point of Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows is $12.76. That price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-A-Million. The most commonly occurring listing is $11.99. It is listed through Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy. That is well below the noted average, and even farther below the $20 mark, showing even more, its affordability. Target lists the DVD at $12.99 while Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million list the DVD at $13.59 and $13.99 respectively, well above the noted average price point. Regardless, even those prices are below the $20 price point, which means that even they will not break audiences’ budgets. Again, considering all that the main feature offers viewers even against the lack of bonus original episodes, these figures show that the DVD’s pricing is still a positive in its own right. Taking all of this into account, it makes Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows a mostly positive presentation that will appeal just as much to fans of the original series as to horror fans in general and fans of the new series.
Nickelodeon and Paramount’s recent home release of Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows is a surprisingly engaging and entertaining new entry in the reboot of the classic teen-centered horror show. Its appeal comes in large part through its story. The story at that heart of this “season” really steps things up from the reboot’s first “season.” The story is scarier and more believable because it takes a completely different approach than that used in the first “season.” It also works because of the work of the new cast on camera. They and the writers incorporate elements of the original series alongside a darker, more gripping approach to make for a great balance in this case. While the main feature does so much to make this set so engaging and entertaining, the lack of any bonus episodes from the original series this time detracts from the presentation’s appeal to a certain point. The negative impact of that omission is not enough to make the presentation a failure, but it certainly would have been nice to have had that element featured here since it was also featured in the first “season” in its DVD release. That is also the case considering that to this day, the original series still has not received an official release either in single series sets or a full series release. All things considered here, the set’s pricing proves to be its own positive. The average and separate listings are all below the $20 mark, and considering how much entertainment is offered through the story here, that is actually money well spent. Add in that the most commonly occurring listing is $11.99, audiences will agree even more, that it is a positive. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make the DVD a mostly positive presentation that will appeal widely to fans of the Are You Afraid of the Dark? franchise and to horror fans in general.
Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows is available now. More information on the DVD and all of the series’ latest news is available at http://www.facebook.com/AreYouAfraidOfTheDark.
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