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Night terrors torment four young adults who thought they'd outgrown their childish fears of the dark. But what if the malevolent things they imagined scrabbling in the shadows are really there? Julia (Laura Regan) suffered so badly from nighttime panic attacks as a child that she spent years seeing a therapist (Jay Brazeau), but now she's an admirably pulled-together...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Night terrors torment four young adults who thought they'd outgrown their childish fears of the dark. But what if the malevolent things they imagined scrabbling in the shadows are really there? Julia (Laura Regan) suffered so badly from nighttime panic attacks as a child that she spent years seeing a therapist (Jay Brazeau), but now she's an admirably pulled-together young woman. She's pursuing a degree in psychology and has a stable, supportive boyfriend in Paul (Mark Blucas), who couldn't be less like her needy, high-strung ex, Billy (Jon Abrahams). But Billy shared Laura's intense childhood fear of monsters in the closet, a bond that's hard to break; when he calls, nearly hysterical, she feels obligated to meet him and talk him through whatever's bothering him. Though in the past Laura has always been able to calm Billy, this time he's beyond her soothing words. Pale and sweating, he babbles about things coming to get him, picks at a strange wound on his hand and insists that they can interfere with electricity and batteries, extinguishing the light that keeps them at bay. Listen to crying children, Billy counsels; they sense the presence of evil before adults. Then as a baby wails and the lights flicker, he shoots himself in front of the horrified Laura. Profoundly shaken, Laura experiences a recurrence of her childhood nightmares. At Billy's funeral, two of his college friends, Sam (Ethan Embry) and Terry (Dagmara Dominczyk), confess that they too had night terrors as children, and they're having nightmares now. Are Laura, Terry and Sam all allowing their imaginations to get the better of them, or has something really come to reclaim them? Though the story eventually runs out of steam and it's never clear why the night-crawlers torment certain children and then come back to get them, fledgling screenwriter Brendan William Hood and director Robert Harmon (who's kept a very low profile since his white-knuckle directing debut, 1986's THE HITCHER) whip up some effective suspense sequences. Harmon opts to show less and suggest more, and the script's gloomy downer of an ending is audacious. Director Wes Craven's name features prominently in the movie's advertising, though he seems to have had nothing whatsoever to do with making the film; his name appears neither on screen nor in the credits.

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  • Released: 2002
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Night terrors torment four young adults who thought they'd outgrown their childish fears of the dark. But what if the malevolent things they imagined scrabbling in the shadows are really there? Julia (Laura Regan) suffered so badly from nighttime panic att… (more)

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