Like a fly to a steaming pile of feces, I am drawn to Wes Craven films for some unknown reason. I picked this title up hoping for redemption of hours lost on shit bag "Wes Craven Presents" films, but yet again, I'm left with nothing but a bad taste in my mouth. The initial buzz on this movie was that it was comparable to "Phantoms" in story line, but with much less gore. It was also rumored that this movie would have a "shocking" ending. Right………..
We open with a scene of a little boy's room, a la Darkness Falls. We focus on a scared little brat that needs mommy to check under his bed because he claims that "They" come for him at night. Mom brushes it off and tucks little Billy in, letting him know that her and dad will be downstairs if he needs them. Time passes and Billy's asleep, the rain is falling and the lightning illuminates part of the room. Billy wakes up and looks around, making sure the coast is clear. However, Billy notices that his closet door is ajar. The rain begins forming strange patterns on the windows and Billy notices a strange croaking noise coming from the closet. In true Craven fashion, Harmon tries to create a panic scene with Billy frantically looking around the room for the creature making the noise. Suddenly, Billy get ripped under his bed (or closet?) by something.
Fast forward 19 years later, where we meet the main character, Julia, a fit lady who's studying for her defense in a Psychology Masters course. We're treated to various messages on Julia's 1960's answering machine, the last being her boyfriend informing her that he's picking her up for a date. After a nice dinner, Paul, her boyfriend takes Julia back to his pad where his bum friends are chilling on the couch. Paul and Julia start getting it on in his bedroom when her cell phone rings. It's her friend Billy and he's in a time of crisis. After agreeing to meet him, she heads off to some run down diner.
Julia finds Billy in the back of the diner, he's a wreck and begins babbling incoherently about someone or something that is out to get him. After noticing some ghastly flesh wound on Billy's hand, Julia begins to question his sanity. One thing leads to another, Billy promptly apologizes to Julia for everything, and proceeds in emptying his head on the nice Formica table via gunshot. At Billy's funeral, Julia meets two people that were friends of Billy during his college years, who coincidentally shared the same "night terrors" that Billy had. The three part ways for a short while until Julia experiences her first night terrors in nineteen years, which prompts a phone call from Billy's friends.
The three gather at Billy's friends' apartment to discuss these night terrors, and conclude that they were all marked as children by demons, and that the demons have come back to claim them. Naturally, these demons only come out in the darkness and have a weakness associated with any form of light. Now that the viewer is aware of these attributes, Harmon can commence with directing the most predictable horror movie ever. As the movie struggles to progress, we watch Billy's friends being stalked in the darkness by these demons. All attempts at finding light sources of any kind are nullified and the two eventually succumb to the demons' wrath. I must say that in the 30 minutes it takes to off these two morons I felt like I aged twenty years. I mean, how long and often can we drag out the same premise that these creatures stalk in the dark, putting our characters in precarious situations where they have virtually no chance of survival because the lights always seem to fucking burn out. I felt more trapped by the shit bag execution than by the panic element that was supposed to prevail. Also, what the fuck is the deal with not showing anyone die? I understand that the movie was PG-13, but even Dreamcatcher, which was also PG-13, showed tremendous amounts of gore and violence.
So now that we've established the apparent problems with this flick, lets discuss the positive attributes. For one, the lighting in the movie was incredible, often punctuating the hallucination aspect of psychosis. The demons, being CGI, blended in with the backdrop perfectly, leaving the impression that the cast may indeed by schizophrenic. I also enjoyed the psychology behind the night terrors, suggesting that perhaps peoples' fears may eventually manifest into a physical threat, rather than be a biological conflict in their heads.
The special features for this DVD outshined the actual movie, allowing the viewer to preview future releases like Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Below. It also contained the alternate end of the movie, which if you do watch, will probably agree with me in saying that the alt. should have been the definitive ending. It just makes more sense. Overall however, I felt this movie was a weak follow up to Darkness Falls, and once again prays on the trite archetype of light being good, and dark being evil. I suggest a rental at best, unless you want to buy this movie when I plop it on eBay.