Saturday, February 11, 2006


A group of college guys who used to have night terrors in their childhood are stalked by creatures who live in the dark and who want to take them away into their world in They an under-the-radar horror flick which supposedly had Wes Craven behind it, though his presence isn't quite obvious beyond the "Wes Craven presents" tag.

Julia (Laura Regan) is a down to earth co-ed about to major in psychology. She splits her time between studying and her paramedic boyfriend Paul (Marc Blucas, from Buffy, Season 4) and all seems to be smiles and kisses until Julia receives a call from a childhood friend called Billy. When she goes to meet him, Billy, a freaky guy full of scars and zombie-like bags under his eyes, goes on a paranoid rant about things in the dark trying to catch him, only to put an end to his life by blowing his brains off in front of Julia. Short after, at Billy's funeral, Julia meets two of Billy's friends (Ethan Embry and Dagmara Dominczyk), who like Billy and Julia used to have night terrors when little. From that moment, Julia begins to be followed by fierce creatures that are slowly taking over the country in an ever-spreading darkness and who want to take her away with them.

They starts very much like another "boogeyman movie" Darkness Falls, with a little boy scared of the dark and a mother who tells him there's nothing to be afraid of. The initial sequence, as quite a few in the movie, is pretty effective. The creatures in this film are pretty decent, they remain in shadows most of the time and don't seem to be overdone by the CGI department. This is a movie that not only relies on the visuals (the slithering movements of the creatures, especially in the subway sequence, is really good) but also in sound.

However not everything's green in this valley.

The real problem with They lies on it's story, which seems so forced that you want yell at the writers. This movie is plagued with characters making stupid moves. For example, Ethan Embry is caught in his studio by the creatures who are able to cause blackouts wherever they go. Here you have this guy trying to escape with his life. So what do you do when you want to escape a building where the power is hanging on it's last thread? Well this guy has no better idea than getting inside an elevator, where, what do you know, he gets stuck. Later, in one of the worst character moves ever, Julia runs out of her apartment trying to survive the night so the best place for her to go is... the subway! Not only that, after she gets on the subway station she gets freaked out because the gate closes. It doesn't end there... she later takes a train and when the train stops, she gets out and onto the tracks and walks into the tunnel, and yeah later she tries to stop another train by running in front of it. If the creatures didn't get her, I would have taken my shot.

But apart from the characters the film's plot tries to hold water and fades. From the beginning we are told about these power failures all over the country which seem to be escalating to a point where citizens are asked to save all the energy they can. This marks the taking of these creatures of the dark. However we are later told that only people who have gone through a very traumatic event can see and be hunted by these creatures.

Sad, because not all of the movie is bad. The film has good moments and an enigmatic ending which could have been much more powerful if the rest of the movie had been treated in a different way. However, They doesn't get to take off and in the end we are left with a boring movie with some good moments. Another proof that sometimes the direction is not all there is to mind. Story weighs a lot too, and in the case of They, it lacks strength.


At 8:38 AM, Blogger Benjamin Solah said...

I loved this movie. I could see it a few times over and it continues to actually creep me out quite a bit. I had frequent nightmares as a kid, so that's where the personal terror comes into it.


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