When pronouns attack. They is the latest and most curious entry in the “Wes Craven Presents” Series—unlike Dracula 2000, 1998’s Carnival of Souls and Wishmaster, the film doesn’t even carry an executive producer credit for Craven. If his seal of approval hasn’t meant much in the past, it’s unlikely to matter this time around. The good news here is that the irony-free They is better than any of the aforementioned films though it will likely be overshadowed by Gore Verbinski’s popular yet inferior The Ring. This unusually reserved B-movie shocker concerns itself with the night terrors experienced by young children. Nineteen years ago, little Billy was sucked under his bed by “them” only to mysteriously reappear days later. Now older and more paranoid, Billy comes to believe that a mark on his arm means that the light-fearing “they” are coming back. The material is dopey and screenwriter Brendan Hood dangerously takes psychoanalysis into Spellbound territory but director Robert Harmon (The Hitcher) does wonders with flickering lights and the widescreen format. The film’s better moments are the more suggestive ones: the diner spectacle sequence and a chilling swimming pool set piece that tips its hat to Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People. The decision to shroud the film’s monsters in darkness is so effective that it makes what little the spectator can see of the spidery creatures and their world all the more disappointing. Like Heather Langkenkamp before her, Laura Regan makes for an unconventional yet compelling lead heroine. And while They may be no more intelligent than Nightmare on Elm Street, its refreshing to see a film that derives its jolts from the fears that haunted us as children.
- Dimension Films
- 90 min
- Robert Harmon
- Brendan Hood
- Laura Regan, Marc Blucas, Ethan Embry, Dagmara Dominczyk, Jon Abrahams, Jessica Amlee, Jonathan Cherry
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