Second Time Offender
It’s a dark and stormy night (MWAHAHAHAHAAAAA!) and there’s a little boy named Billy whose frightened of the thunder and lightning (big baby). He tries, and fails, to convince his mommy to let him sleep with her, but she tells him that there’s nothing to be afraid of and if there is something there that he’ll be safe if he just pulls the covers over his head (yeah, cuz the boogeyman or an axe murder are allergic to blankets…please! way to set your kid up to fail, lady.).
She tucks him in, kisses him goodnight, and he tries to go to sleep, but the storm just won’t let him. He hears a strange noise in his room and as he looks towards his closet we realize there IS something in there.
Beyond terrified Billy screams for his mommy, who does not come to his rescue (way to traumatize your kid), so he proceeds to hyperventilate under his blankets until ages (in kid time) have passed and he pulls down the blanket.
Everything appears to be fine in his room…until he gets pulled off of his bed by some unseen assailant and then drug screaming bloody murder under his bed (he's going to be a well-adjusted adult).
Jump forward x amount of years to psych student Julia. She’s athletic, pretty, and appears to be quite popular by the amount of messages left on her answering machine (it still uses cassette tapes, ha!).
Out on a date that night with her boyfriend Paul she seems to be having a good time and appears to be a well-adjusted individual despite a pointed message from her mother reminding her to take her pills.
After the date is over Julia and Paul head back to his place where they plan on having some “quality” time (yes, I’m alluding to sex), only to be interrupted when her cell phone rings. Despite Paul’s protests Julia answers her phone, claiming that it’s probably her adviser whom she had paged earlier, only to find that it’s her childhood best friend Billy.
He’s having a crisis of some kind and needs to see her. It can’t wait, so she promises to meet him in thirty minutes derailing her boyfriend’s plans for sexual release. She gives him a suggestive kiss (what a fucking tease) and promises to be back soon.
She catches a subway to a diner downtown where Billy is waiting for her. He looks like crap and is visibly disturbed. He starts talking like a crazy person going on and on about how they hide in the dark and how they were marked as kids. He tells her the signs to avoid them and then he tells her he’s sorry as the lights in the diner go out before blowing his brains out (that’s really inconsiderate if you ask me…that blood is not gonna come out of her shirt).
That night, while trying to get some sleep, she suffers from a bout of night terrors and ends up attacking her boyfriend when he tries to help her. It appears that now that Billy has offed himself she’s next (nice friend).
At the funeral a few days later she meets a few of Billy’s friends, Sam and Terry, who also suffered from night terrors when they were children. She’s a little creeped out by it, but she shrugs it off to being a coincidence and goes on her merry little way.
While driving at home in the dark something mysterious races out in front of her car, causing her to swerve. She gets out of the car to check on it (what a dumbass) and can see something off on the side of the road. She tries to leave, but her car isn’t working right and she ends up almost getting creamed by a semi (I know, I’m disappointed too).
She goes to see her boyfriend, thinking he’ll make it all better but he just ends up being extremely mean and unsympathetic to her (boohoo). As a result she gets together with Billy’s friends again and they try to convince her that something hinky is going on (yes, I just used the word hinky…if you don’t like you can suck it!). All they manage to do, however, is convince her that they’re cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.
Unsure of what to do about the night terrors she goes to see her child psychiatrist who tells her that stress or undue trauma is probably causing her night terrors to manifest again and offers to treat her again if she thinks it will help.
Across town Sam and Terry are discussing Billy’s suicide and how a person gets to that place. Sam leaves to destressify his life, leaving Terry alone in the loft. She hears a strange noise in the vents and (being a dumbass) looks inside thinking she’s finally caught a rat. She drops the lighter she’s holding, plunging the vent into darkness (plunging…I love that word, it’s such a good word). She notices something large lodged further back in the event and struggles to re-light the lighter as the thing moves closer to her. Just as it’s about to get her the lighter flares to life and the creepy figure disappears.
Julia, unable to let things go, digs her old therapy tapes out of storage and watches them for clarity…entertainment…or maybe just to reminisce. What she sees frightens her and clearly makes her less uncertain about her situation. She tries to get some school work done, but gives up in favor of taking a nap.
Terry is now at the swimming pool (clearly this movie jumps around a lot), she’s alone in the swimming pool getting some exercise. As she’s doing her laps in the pool the lights start to go out (oooh, spooky) and she starts to freak out (wussy). Strange noises alert her to the sad fact that she is not alone and she hauls ass to get out of the pool. She makes it into a darkened locker room only to be attacked by two ambiguous looking thingamajigs.
Jump back to Julia. She’s slept the whole night away (oh no…no, no no). She didn’t get her work done and she’s got a meeting with some bigwig shrinks. She totally bombs the meeting and ends up going home and taking a bath. While she’s in the tub the phone rings and the machine picks up…it’s Paul. He leaves her a message, blah blah blah, and promises to call back until she picks up. She ignores it and goes back to her bath only to have the phone ring again seconds later causing her to get out of the bath to answer it – only this time it’s not Paul, it’s Sam, and he needs to talk (DUN DUN DUN).
She arrives at Sam’s loft (which is kind of a shit hole, an arty shit hole, but a shit hole nonetheless). He informs her that Terry is missing and that all of her stuff was found in the locker rooms. He’s clearly losing it…just like Billy did…and he reads passages from Billy’s diary to her in an effort to convince her of what’s going on. She refuses to believe anything hinky is going on so Sam shows her his mark.
Julia goes to see her psychiatrist and explains Billy’s theory to him. He clearly things she’s crazy and he suggests she diagnose herself and then praises her abilities before dismissing her. Before she can leave he asks her where her mark is which prompts her to invite Paul over to check her over. He convinces her there’s nothing to worry about and they do the dirty deed (she gonna die, she broke a rule and now she gonna die).
Jump back to Sam in his arty shit hole. He’s working on some paintings when all of a sudden the sprinklers go off and the lights start going on. Poor Sammy knows what’s coming for him and he’s powerless to stop it as he’s dragged down the elevator shaft never to be seen again (:::tears up:::).
Jump back to Julia…whoa, Julia is nekkid and Paul’s roommate has just walked in on them. Embarrassed she leaves and heads home where she’s attacked by something in her closet. She flees from her apartment and ends up finding the mark under her hair. She pulls something icky looking out of it and then races back to Paul’s.
It’s clear that she’s losing her fucking mind…or is she…so Paul drugs her and she fuh-lips out. Now she’s in a race against time to save herself…and she’s running short on time.
Terry: What do you think went through Billy's mind when he did it.
Sam: A bullet.
The beginning of the movie with young Billy.
I’ve seen this movie 4 or 5 times now and I still don’t know if I like it or not. It’s got all of the elements of a horror film, but somehow they never quite come together in a way that’s terrifying or satisfying. Don’t let the Wes Craven presents fool you…this is not Craven quality by any means (which, in some cases is a good thing, and others a bad thing…this is one of those bad things).
The direction/editing are probably the movies biggest downfall. Although the acting isn’t all that great either. The film jumps around a lot, if you couldn’t tell that from the summary, and while it’s not hard to follow, it does disrupt the flow of the film. Add in the absence of character development and the fact that the main character isn’t all that sympathetic and there’s not much left to save this movie.
The monsters aren’t all that terrifying, the effects used to create them are subpar, and the entire premise is never fully realized in the film. If they had just focused on Julia’s character the film might have been a lot better than it was.
Honestly, the only way I would recommend this film is if you’re a fan of Marc Blucas or Ethan Embry…or if it’s a choice between watching this or Jersey Shore.
When Julia looks through documents from her case as a child, we see the letterhead of State Mental Health Association in Center City, WA 20158. All ZIP codes in Washington state begin with 98- or 99-. The ZIP code listed would be in Virginia.