I hadn’t heard too much about They before I saw it in my local Blockbuster®. Wes Craven’s name, as the packaging guys for this film intended, caught my eye, and interested me, despite the fact that I heard nothing about the film.
Having been a fan of past Craven flicks, such as A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and Scream (1996), I wondered if he’d be able to continue his creative approach to horror film making. So, is They just your basic horror flick with Wes’s name on it only to attract some attention, and hopefully more sales?
The actors all seemed typical of the basic horror flick, i.e you’ve never heard of them before and they don’t really impress you with their performances in the film. Marc Blucas, who some may recognize as Riley from the show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (TV), doesn’t really get a chance to show any sort of the at least quasi-acting that he displayed in the show, and becomes just a sounding board for the main character, Julia. It’s kind of a shame, since we know he could do better if he was given a role he could really get into. He definitely doesn’t get into this role, which is obvious from the beginning, as he seems a bit awkward and bored from scene one.
Horror movies require one of two things, a strong hero/heroine (portrayed in such films as Aliens (1986), The Evil Dead (1981),etc.) or a strong villain (such as Freddy Krueger, Jason, Leatherface, etc.). This film has neither.
The main character, as played by Laura Regan, is not very involving and really needs to share the lead performance with a creepy villain. But this film tries to rely solely on her, and keeps the villain in the dark throughout the entire film. Sure, this is good to do in the beginning of the film, as it helps to build tension and heighten the terror for the viewers, but we viewers feel a little cheated if all the hub-bub doesn’t lead up to much of anything.
We never really get a great glimpse at the creatures, rather just flashes in the light, as opposed to the scenes of such films as Aliens (1986), Darkness Falls (2003), etc., where we at least get one good glimpse of the hideous monster that’s attacking. It’s kind of a let down and ruins the overall impact of the film on the viewer.
The plot, while not very original, did seem to try to put a new twist on the boogieman concept, but isn’t as inventive as we’ve come to expect from Wes Craven. Since he only produced it, I guess we can’t hold it totally against him, but They is still a little bit of an imaginative disappointment.