Warning: The following review contains no spoiler. I mention no facts that reveal any story twists nor do I answer any questions to the plot. But I do reveal if there is a 'they' and if 'they' exists. So if you don't want to know if there is or isn't a horrific force killing people, then stop reading now.
I would have liked to have already seen "Darkness Falls" before writing this review. They are both essentially the same movie. Night terrors have a meaning, and it's probably bad. In "Wes Craven Presents: They," a movie that had nothing to do with Wes Craven, strange things begin to happen to Julia Lund (Laura Regan). Ever since her long time friend warned her about 'they,' she has been having reoccurring night terrors that started when they were kids.
'They,' a race of Pitch Black looking creatures abduct their victims in a two-part process. First, they mark their victim with a scab on some part of their body, then they come back to claim them when the bleeding scab reappears some time in the future. It is never explained why they just don't get the job done on the first try.
The mysterious creatures in "They" are really cool looking. It's a shame that we never get to see them. Throughout the entire movie, you can hear their chirping and whispering in the background; effects that aren't scary to the slightest. Occasionally you can see them moving in the shadows and jumping out in front of cars, but that's it.
Not only would I have liked to see the creatures more, I would have liked to learn more about their origins. In a scene where Julia is at a restaurant with her old friend, he tells her about the 'they' and how to detect them. "When you hear a baby cry, keep moving…they can sense them." Why? How? Tell us more. But we get nothing more. Sure enough, a baby in the diner starts crying, but that is the last time we hear one cry. 'They' also only come out at night, which means all our characters have to do is stay in the light. But 'they' have the power to kill electricity and make the phone ring.
There are only about four main characters. Some include Sam (Ethan Embry) and Terry (Dagmara Dominczyk). Each of them have the mark which means that their days are numbered. They know, but they always happen to be in the most secluded and isolated spots in the city on their day of judgment. If you know that a creature who only lives in darkness is coming to get you, you stay in the light with the others who are going through the same thing. But do they do that? Nope. One stays home alone on a dark rainy night, another goes to a public swimming pool that isn't that public, one of them sticks her head in a ventilation duct, and one goes into an underground subway tunnel. Now I did not just reveal when and where the death scenes take place, I just mentioned what the stupid teens in the movie do that will ultimately lead to an attempt to scare you. It doesn't work.
"They" is boring, and makes no progress. Julia wanders aimlessly in the worst places to be alone, and never really understands what is going on. Why would you walk into a subway, and then immediately try to run out when the gates behind you close? She's afraid to fall asleep because of the night terrors, and eventually starts seeing her old psychiatrist that she hasn't been to since someone in her family died--details so unimportant that I forgot who it was.
There is one part that I liked in this movie. You actually see the realm, the space, the outer world where the creatures live, and where they bring their victims. If only the entire movie took place here. If only we learned more about "they" and where they come from. But instead, we are forced to follow the lame story about a girl and her friends who walk right into 'they," but not before spending two hours running in circles, whining about their nightmares that could easily put audiences to sleep.
Miramax needed some type of ploy to get people to see this horribly weak movie. It's not scary at all. The only horror element in this movie is Wes Craven's name, which appears in the title. Besides that, you have more to do with this movie than Craven if you've seen it. They obviously shelled out a couple of bucks to Wes Craven so his name could be put in the title. Whatever that amount was, I'm sure it was more than how much "They" will make at the box office.