They Wait in the Dark is a horror film directed by Patrick Rea that has been woven in a manner to send chills down our spines. The plot of They Wait in the Dark revolves around Amy and her adopted son, Adrian, who are on the run from someone. When Amy finally lands at her father’s old house, she and Adrian have ghastly encounters. We are yet to see if they both manage to survive the dreadful situation! A lot of questions arise about the real identity of Adrian and the history of Amy while watching the film, and they are all to be answered, which will change our perceptions about the characters. There is nothing more dangerous than a woman whose child has been snatched away from her. We’ve seen similar horror concepts in films like Mama, Goodnight Mommy, Mommie Dearest, and others. Let’s find out if the traumatic experiences of the characters come to the forefront as the film progresses!
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
We see Amy and her son Adrian hiding from someone, living in odd places like department stores. They are chased down by the police and go over to a restaurant where Amy’s friend, Jenny, works as a waitress. After having some food, Amy requests that Jenny drop her off at her parent’s old house. Jenny helps them with groceries and often visits them, and one day, out of curiosity, she asks Amy who she is hiding from. She is told that they are hiding from Judith, her ex-partner, as she wanted to take Adrian away from her. She also showed Jenny the injury mark on her body that Judith had inflicted. That day, when Jenny is about to leave, Amy hands her their childhood photo, telling her that she had found it in the basement.
Amy and Adrian start facing strange events in the house. They find elements of black magic, a pentagram drawn, and candles in the basement. Adrian starts seeing apparitions in the house and sleepwalks. Amy gets attacked by the force, while the force seems to be protecting Adrian. She seems to be repeatedly beaten by some force, which apparently only Adrian is able to see. It does not seem to attack Adrian, but only Amy. She thinks that it was someone who had broken into the house and inflicted the injuries. Meanwhile, Judith is on her way to search for them, and she seems intent on taking Adrian away with herself. Amy is seen practicing shooting to ensure that she can protect Adrian from Judith when the time comes.
Later, we see that Judith goes into the restaurant where Jenny works and sees her childhood photo with Amy. She later kidnaps Jenny and forces her to take her to Amy’s place. On her way to the place, she tells Jenny that Amy is not the kind of person she thinks she is. It was Amy who murdered her mother when she was a kid and blamed it on her father. She says that she and Amy killed a woman to steal Adrian away when he was a baby. Meanwhile, Amy is constantly being attacked in the house by the apparition, asking her to tell Adrian the truth. Amy eventually tells Adrian the truth about how she and Judith killed his biological mother to steal him away as a baby. Adrian then understands that the ghastly figure that he was seeing in the house was that of his own mother, who was trying to protect him.
On reaching the house, Judith attacks Amy, and they fight each other. Judith shoots Amy with her own gun, and then the apparition appears, killing Judith by snapping her neck. Amy eventually succumbs to the gunshot wounds. While there is a ruckus in the house, Adrian is locked inside the room, along with Jenny, by the spirit. They are only let out of the room when the storm has subsided. There is a possibility that Jenny was kept safe by the spirit so that she could later take care of Adrian. Jenny takes Adrian along with her in the end, signifying that he would have a better life away from the toxic adoptive parents that he had. During They Wait in the Dark‘s ending, the spirit comes back to her human form, bidding Adrian and Jenny goodbye with a happy look on her face, signifying that her son is now in the right hands!
What Past Psychological Traumas Did Amy Have?
In the very opening scene, we see a woman lying in a pool of blood with her throat slit open. A young Amy stands in front of the woman, doing nothing to save her. Throughout They Wait in the Dark, we see glimpses of how Amy used to be treated by her mother. She was beaten and mentally abused by her own mother, making her resent the woman to the core. While in her parents’ house, Amy used to get visions of how she was treated as a child. She thinks of all the beatings and the way she had to gulp down all the food despite her loss of appetite because her mother did not want her to waste food. When Adrian wastes food at the table, she reminds him that they cannot afford to waste food because she is repeating her own mother’s toxic traits. She also remembers when her mother once wanted to burn her face with a hot iron curler for not having washed her face properly. She was forced to dress pretty and put on makeup at a young age by her mother. These ill-treatments had led her to murder her mother in her sleep with a knife, slitting her throat open.
The toxic traits of her mother are often noticed in her, as she talks very harshly with Adrian and uses abusive language at times. She later apologizes to him, saying that she did not mean all those, proving that those harsh words and actions came involuntarily to her because of the deeply embedded trauma in her mind. The cruel thought of stealing a baby from his mother by killing her could have stemmed from her trauma. It is possible that she wanted to be a woman who was antithetical to her mother, and in a frenzy to prove that to herself, she must have stolen Adrian with the help of Judith. Her past traumas have always caused her to shift her own blame onto others. When she murdered her mother, she shifted the blame on her father. She also wanted to shift her guilt of stealing Adrian upon Judith and forget her own part-taking in the act.
A question regarding the aspect of who all wait in the dark arises in our minds. Even though we see just one entity throughout the film, the title of the film has a ‘They’ in it. Were there more than just one entity in the film that was invisible to our eyes? Was Adrian able to see them all? The past trauma of Amy could have been considered another entity, ready to pounce on her anytime. We see a pentagram drawn and candles in the basement of the house, which signifies the presence of black magic. There could have been a possibility that while the house was empty, some youngsters could have summoned other demons into the house through planchet. The house was a complete war zone for Amy and Adrian, as they were already struggling to hide from Judith and also fighting apparitions. The past trauma of Amy in that house was also significantly an extra burden on her psyche.