Directed by Robert Harmon
Written by Brendon Hood
Starring Laura Regan, Marc Blucas, Ethan Embry, Dagmara Dominczyk, Jon Abrahams and Jay Brazeau
Following the traumatising suicide of a childhood friend, a young woman starts to believe the night terrors she suffered as a child were not just the result of delusions brought on by an over-active imagination.
This 2002 horror film treads a very well worn path and has much in common with ‘Darkness Falls’ and ‘Boogeyman’, two films that came later. Obviously influenced by Japanese horror films, it uses suggestion to create an aura of creepiness and menace, eschewing the trend for in-your-face gratuitous gore. The story is too flimsy for it to be entirely successful and there is not enough originality, but although it is ultimately rather underwhelming, it is not without merit.
The scenes that take place down in the unspecified city’s metro system are quite effective and I could not help but think of the later British horror film ‘Creep’. However, like that film, I found it difficult to believe no checks are made to ensure all passengers have left the premises before the stations are locked down for the night. The same applies here to the character who finds herself trapped in a swimming pool, because apparently not even a cursory check is made before everything is switched off and locked up. Suspense works best if it is believable, something that too many films of this type are willing to overlook.
I recently watched another Laura Regan film, ‘Hollow Man 2’, and found her performance rather unimpressive and off-putting. Something similar happened here, but her performance worked much better on this occasion. There seems to be a rather cold and fractured brittleness to her acting, but that suits the character she plays in ‘They’, whose behaviour increasingly borders on paranoid schizophrenia as the film progresses.
The full title given to the film at the time of its original theatrical release in the US was ‘Wes Craven Presents: They’. It has a 37% rotten rating at Rotten Tomatoes from 54 reviews and grossed a little over $16.1 million at the box office.