Review of them/them | 411MANIA

To emit:
* kevin bacon as Owen Whistler
* carrie preston as Cora Whistler
* anna schlumsky as Molly
* Theo Germaine like jordan
* ana lore as kim
* Monique Kim as Veronica
* fabro’s darwin like Gabriel
* cooper koch like Stu
* austin slide as toby
* Hayley Griffith as Sarah
* Boone Platt as Zane
* brand ashworth like baltasar

History: Kevin Bacon stars as Owen Whistler in this slasher horror film set in an LGBTQIA+ conversion camp. Several queer campers join Whistler for a week of programming intended to “help them find a new sense of freedom.” As the methods of the camp become increasingly psychologically disturbing, the campers must work together to protect themselves. When an unidentified ax murderer starts claiming victims, things get even more dangerous.

The very concept of they they seemed to generate a number of responses when it was originally announced. A queer slasher movie is nothing new anymore. I remember seeing Pawned promoted nearly twenty years ago and that wasn’t even true. But the idea of ​​a slasher set in a gay conversion camp certainly is. And that’s why it generated reactions. Because in the wrong hands, it could feel extremely exploitative to have a bunch of children like this, who are already undergoing torture, to be killed as well. Even a revenge story could be seen as exploitative if not done right. And with a title like they they (pronounced they-slash-them, get it?), you can see why people might be hesitant about this one.

Whatever you may have expected from this movie, it’s not exactly that and it is. It just feels exploitative in the sense that all slashers are exploitation, but it’s not exactly exploiting the campers in the movie. For the most part (outside of one honestly hard-to-watch torture scene), the script treats gay kids with respect. Several of them have unique characters, memorable moments and are in the hands of a cast that will captivate you with their performances. The sex scenes (and yes, they do exist. This is a slasher movie) feel like they’re there to advance the plot rather than titillate as they’d say, Friday the 13th. So in that respect at least, the movie feels respectful. they they it is very far of outdoor camphe wasn’t exactly the friendliest to gay or trans people.

The film is an ensemble piece, headlined by Kevin Bacon as Owen Whistler, the aforementioned camp leader. And at first, you want to like it. Maybe that’s the point. Because Kevin Bacon is such a good actor that he’s able to activate the charm and make this guy seem like an ally to these kids. As you can see from the poster, he definitely isn’t. But things aren’t even what they seem there. Because in addition to the horrors of a gay conversion camp, and there are many, there is a masked psychopath killing people. And that’s where the movie falls apart.

Yes they they where a character-driven psychological thriller about a group of teenagers battling oppressive fanatics could really have worked. And, in fact, there are moments in this movie where it really works. Kevin Bacon is absolutely terrifying in the way that he tries to psychologically manipulate and torture these kids. The script makes all the older adults who work at the camp instantly obnoxious, whether it’s forcing a trans woman to sleep with the kids or telling someone who’s non-binary that they’re just “faking it.” And that’s not getting into other more intense things. Real campers are as complete as they can be and have several moments to turn them into people you care to watch.

See also  'Umbrella Academy' renewed for fourth season and will return to film in Hamilton

Acting is never the problem here. The script, at times, is very good. The biggest problem is the fact that it is a slasher movie. Because it never fully commits to being a slasher movie until the very end, and at that point it ends in a completely formulaic and incompetent way. Without spoiling anything, the reveal is very clunky and takes away from the impact of some of the deaths (especially the ones you wanted to see die). A backstory is introduced into a character in the last few minutes as a way to lead to… whatever message they were looking for. that message? Gay conversion camps are bad, but murder is also bad. Yes, movie. We are conscious.

The slasher elements are so shoehorned in that when people die, it can happen 20-25 minutes at a time. The story grabs you and then all of a sudden someone dies and you think, “Oh yeah, there’s a killer out there.” Whether the slasher elements were added for marketing or because writer/director John Logan had too many ideas in his script, who knows. But they were clumsy and brought an attractive film.

There’s a lot to like with they they, but unfortunately gets stuck on a lot of jarring tonal changes. There’s so much worthwhile queer horror available that you don’t need to bother with this one, but there’s enough that it won’t completely waste your time.

See also  Netflix Series 'Love Between Fairy and Devil' Review: A Xianxia Drama You Must Watch!

Leave a Comment