It’s at least the second “monsters under the bed and in the closet” movie of the month, although in this case, the children scared of the monsters grow up and the monsters do too, I guess, because once the kids are adults, the monsters start haunting pretty much any old place, as long as it’s dark. Apparently (according to a crazy guy who killed himself), there are these monsters that either are attracted to kids who have night terrors, or perhaps the kids don’t have night terrors, they’re just seeing these monsters. They mention it the first way, but since these are the only specific night terrors we see in the movie, I get the feeling the second way is more the case. Anyway, when they are children, the monsters take them into their world and mark them in some way, then when they are adults, they come back to apparently take them for good. For what purpose, we never learn. The monsters can’t go in the light, only in darkness, but that’s okay for them because they have the ability to make lights go out.
That’s the backstory you learn as it goes. This movie is the story of a woman whose childhood friend shows up out of the blue, is clearly crazy, puts all those ideas in her head before killing himself, and then she and two other friends of his spend the rest of the movie trying not to get taken by the monsters. It’s really kind of a straightforward thing, pretty much just a slasher movie - there is no real point to the movie other than watching the monsters come after them and seeing them narrowly escape in various ways until they don’t escape. But that didn’t make it uninteresting. I enjoyed it, mainly because the monsters were very creepy (as usual, moreso when we saw less of them) and we gradually figured out the backstory, although nothing really meaningful is ever learned. They’re just random monsters, who targeted random people, and took them to an unknown place for unknown reasons.
It is effectively creepy, and the device of trying to get to where there’s light while monsters come crawling (very rapidly) out of the darkness is good. Oh, there’s also the matter of the night terrors - the victims are in a semi-sleepwalking state, so they’ll lash out at friendly people, thinking they are the monsters trying to take them away. In fact, right up to the end, it’s ... well, almost
possible that this whole thing is not real. Spoiler: it is real. But since it’s intertwined with nightmares and distorted reality, you can’t really be 100% sure until the end. There are some real Nightmare On Elm Street elements with the “is it a dream” parts of the film. It’s all relatively standard horror stuff, and there’s not much point to it other than the thrill of the chase, but the chase is pretty thrilling, so I enjoyed it.
4/5 Black Canvases.
My Movie Idea:
At one point in this movie (during what is probably a dream), the heroine opens her medicine cabinet and finds an entire creepy nightmare world inside. It reminded me of this notion we’ve probably all experienced, of how you can look into a mirror and turn your head and see that there is clearly a world in there going on beyond the rectangle of the mirror (technically, it’s the same world as the one outside of there, but that’s beside the point). So for many years, I’ve had this image in my head of a character who could step inside the mirror, and behind it they’d find a vast empty void in which they can somehow float freely, with the backsides of all the mirrors in the world just floating in space, in their relative positions. Each one is like a window, through which you can watch what’s going on, and then step through if you want. You could use this power to effectively ‘teleport’ and do all kinds of mischief and steal unlimited amounts of wealth, and get out of almost any danger (even in prison, there are mirrors!).
You’d run into weird logistics of what exactly qualifies as a mirror, and what about car mirrors and pocket mirrors and shiny lake surfaces and all that, but for the sake of any story or movie we’d blow that off and stick with stationary, man-made mirrors that aren’t all scratched up and ruined. I guess there could be a stream of car mirrors zooming by in the void world, that’d be kinda cool, and potentially dangerous - would they slice you up if one went through your body? Probably! Imagine a meat chunk popping out of your rearview mirror! Okay, it’s better not to imagine that.
But the only actual story I ever came up with for the mirror man was less pleasant: he’s a teenage boy, just discovering this power, and he becomes obsessed with the neighbor girl, watching her through her mirror, trying to use the information he finds out to get her interested in him, failing miserably because it’s creepy when someone knows everything about you, trying harder with exotic presents stolen through other mirrors, failing more miserably because unwanted big gifts are even creepier, and finally feeling hurt and lashing out in very bad ways. By the end of the story, she’s seen him go through mirrors, is terrified of mirrors, and maybe eventually kills him by smashing a mirror he’s sticking halfway out of, trying to grab her.
So... that’s where my mind went with that idea!