Monday, March 13, 2006

They (2002)

Instructions: Watch on a dark and rainy night, preferably alone. Leave all the lights off and leave your closet door slightly ajar. Try not to jump at shadows and try to fight the urge to shut your closet door - these two things will be challenging to do after watching They!

They is a movie that preys on the childhood fear of the dark. Childhood friend Billy commits suicide in front of psych major Julia after rambling about his fear of the dark and she sets out to discover what is lurking in the shadows. Strange blackouts occur throughout the city, and Julia's childhood night terrors return. Billy had these as well, as did his two roommates. They are in the shadows, causing the blackouts, preying on Julia and others with night terrors. To others, though, Julia appears to be going crazy, perhaps due to the stresses of school. Will anyone believe her? Is she really going crazy? What do They want?

Well, you never find out what they want - sure, they drag you away, but are they going to eat you? Did they just want to scare you? WTF? I suppose that if one follows the alternate ending, it makes this point moot, but that isn't the ending the filmmakers decided to go with, now is it? So the audience is left to wonder, why? I also didn't like the design of the creatures and the fact that they showed them too much. I believe it would have been more effective to keep them shrouded in darkness and mystery, where the audience is never sure what they look like. This would have achieved many more scares, perhaps giving the audience some night terrors of their own.

I did like the premise of the story. Who wasn't scared of the dark as a kid? Who hasn't believed there was something lurking in their closet? The absolute horror of the unknown is a very real fear for most people. I did appreciate that this movie employed flickering lights to a whole new level. I am still frightened a bit when the lights go out, especially during a big storm. I recommend it, but I wish they would have either used the alternate ending or explained the creatures' motives.

I watched this movie with my ex boyfriend, who hates any kind of horror movie, and he jumped many a time while watching it. I know I'm a little jaded when it comes to horror - I usually know what to expect and when to expect it - so it was nice to see someone pretty fresh to the horror genre react so strongly to They.

Again, I suggest watching it on a stormy and lonely night for maximum spook-value.

Order it on Amazon!

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