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WES CRAVEN PRESENTS THEY

SYNOPSIS:
Nineteen years ago young Billy (Alexander Gould) was dragged out of his bed by mysterious night creatures he calls 'they'. Now an emotionally unstable adult, Billy calls on his childhood friend Julia Lund (Laura Regan) for help. After claiming the creatures from his childhood have returned and are about to take him away permanently, Billy commits suicide. At his funeral Julia meets Billy's friends Sam (Ethan Embry) and Terry (Dagmara Dominczysk) both of whom suffered from the same kind of night terror as Billy. Julia, a psychology student preparing for her masters degree, initially dismisses the idea of 'they' but when her own childhood terror begins to return Julia realises that there is indeed something evil lurking in the dark. 


Review by Richard Kuipers:
After Dracula 2000 the 'Wes Craven Presents' banner lost plenty of its sheen. They is a big improvement on that fangless farce but you still have to wonder why the Scream king is lending his name to modest efforts such as They. Directed by Robert Harmon who made the cult favourite The Hitcher in 1986 and hasn't done much of note since, They is a decent enough compendium of standard horror movie elements but it doesn't have enough originality to make a mark otherwise. 

The basic story is a spin-off from the old 'don't fall asleep or you'll die' plot perfected by maestro Craven himself in the original and best A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984). Add the indoor swimming pool scene from Cat People and bits and pieces from Sleepwalkers and obscurities like Monster In The Closet (a horror worth discovering at your video shop) and you have a decent if not particularly distinguished excursion into nocturnal nastiness. 

The evil force lurking in the dark corners here are shadows and indistinguishable shapes for the first two-thirds of the film. Some of the scenes in this first hour are genuinely creepy because we don't see the beasties. When they're revealed in more detail later on it's a let down because they're just another pack of CGI thingys sent to spirit a bunch of troubled twenty-somethings back into the closets and under the spooky beds of their childhood traumas. 

Shot in 'scope with the lights out most of the time (why doesn't anyone here buy some 100 watt globes), They springs a few good shocks and the ending is so much better than the rest of the film you'll at least leave the cinema with some sense of satisfaction. Performances from a no-name cast are adequate, with Dagmara Dominczysk rather fetching as Billy's doomed friend Terry and Lara Regan convincing as the woman in peril. You could do worse than They - feardotcom for example - but don't expect too much you haven't seen before.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 2

WES CRAVEN PRESENTS THEY (M)
(US)

CAST: Alexander Gould, Laura Regan, Marc Blucas, Ethan Embry, Jon Abrahams, Dagmara Dominczyk

PRODUCER: Tom Engelman

DIRECTOR: Robert Harmon

SCRIPT: Brendan Hood

CINEMATOGRAPHER: René Ohashi

EDITOR: Chris Peppe

MUSIC: Elia Cmiral

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Douglas Higgins

RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 6, 2003







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