Generally speaking, describing a project as a remake of a cult classic horror film that’s had its release date long delayed doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. However, this summer’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is one of the rare exceptions that fits said description – and could actually be pretty good.

An effectively unnerving teaser for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark was released last August, back when the picture was scheduled to hit theaters in January 2011. Now a full-length trailer has finally been unveiled for the creepy monster pic, which was co-written and produced by Guillermo del Toro.

Disney was originally set to distribute Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark through Miramax, but ended up dropping the film (along with The Debt) last October – due to the then pending sale of that specialty division. Pathe International eventually picked up foreign rights to the project over three months later, and FilmDistrict secured U.S. distribution rights shortly thereafter.

That’s all worth mentioning since studios generally tend to delay projects when they have little to no confidence in the final product (see Priest for a recent example). Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, however, looks like a rather effective scarefest at this point.

Here is the official synopsis for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, followed by the new trailer (via Yahoo! Movies):

“Sally Hurst (Bailee Madison), a lonely, withdrawn child, has just arrived in Rhode Island to live with her father Alex (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) at the 19th-century mansion they are restoring. While exploring the sprawling estate, the young girl discovers a hidden basement, undisturbed since the strange disappearance of the mansion’s builder a century ago. When Sally unwittingly lets loose a race of ancient, dark-dwelling creatures who conspire to drag her down into the mysterious house’s bottomless depths, she must convince Alex and Kim that it’s not a fantasy—before the evil lurking in the dark consumes them all.”

The old-fashioned horror movie design and atmosphere of the Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark footage unveiled so far has del Toro’s fingerprints all over it – appropriately so, since the filmmaker responsible for titles like Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy knows a thing or two about creating spooky monster tales.

While the characters and plot appear to be pretty run-of-the-mill for this kind of horror story – with Madison as the child-in-peril, Holmes as the all but helpless maternal figure, and Pearce as the skeptical husband/father who at first refuses to believe in supernatural forces – that formula can still work really well when executed correctly (like Insidious managed this past spring).

Thankfully, early signs are that Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark director Trey Nixey and del Toro used those ingredients to make a film that’s more ghoulish than cheesy.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark hits U.S. theaters this summer on August 26th.

Source: Yahoo! Movies