They (2002)

MAY 15, 2007


When I watch a movie for Horror Movie A Day, I keep a piece of paper nearby to write down things in the movie that I want to address (read: mock) later on when I do my little write up. After watching Robert Harmon’s They, my paper only had one thing written on it: “Embry!” (actually “Emby!” I write sloppily). For 95 minutes, the only thing in the entire movie that jogged my interest enough to pick up a pen and scribble was the fact that it had the guy from Freakylinks in it.

Needless to say, the movie was garbage. But it’s unfair to call They a movie (and the stupid title is really fucking with my grammar check). It is not a movie. It’s the filmed remnants of the production of a movie. A movie was written, sure. And people were hired to crew or star in the movie; that much is certain. One may even get the idea that the film is about a legitimate reason to be afraid of the dark, thus treading the same ground as those cinematic classics like Darkness Falls and Boogeyman. But somewhere in between the “let’s make this movie!” point, and the point of its theatrical (!!!!) release, the Bermuda Triangle or something came along and wiped out all traces of that. All that is left is… well, Ethan Embry.

Actually, a force of mysterious evil more sinister than the Bermuda Triangle can be blamed: Dimension films. While the credits are strangely missing the usual culprits (i.e. the Weinsteins), it nevertheless bears the mark of a Dimension production. While we’re on the subject, I should point out that the credits are probably the most fascinating part of the film. The poster and ads proudly claimed that Wes Craven “presented” this nonsense, but his name is nowhere to be found on the actual film (though it retains the “Wes Craven Presents” trademark – a wholly uninteresting female lead that has a hot friend/sister). The sole credited writer (a rarity for ANY horror movie, especially a Dimension film) is Brendan Hood, yet his script (available online) bears no resemblance at all to the film we are seeing other than two or three character names and a scene in a subway (he estimates his script was rewritten by no less than 10 writers, including uber-Dimension stooge Joel Soisson).

Whatever. The whole movie plays out like the first 15 minutes or so of a possibly interesting movie, stretched out to 95 minutes. You know you are in trouble when there are only 20 minutes of a movie left and the main character is still in the ‘I think I saw something’ stage. The ending comes and goes out of nowhere and makes no goddamn sense at all, though at least we can definitively say that the film has progressed (to being over) as a result. Bizarrely, the film includes a superior alternate ending (the only extra, not surprisingly) that almost validates the whole thing. In the alternate ending, the whole movie is revealed to be the psychotic delusion of the lead character. Normally, the “It was all a dream” style ending is a sure way to piss the audience off, but in this case, since there was nothing about the movie anyone would actually give a shit about, the fact that none of it actually happened would be perfectly fine by me. Plus it would make more sense that the film didn’t make any fucking sense. But no, they went with another ending that stayed true to the movie’s theme of being stupid and pointless.

There is absolutely no reason that this movie was released at all.

It’s funny that I decided to watch this film today though. The men’s room at my work has 4 lights with 2 fluorescent bulbs each, for a total of 8 bulbs. Since I would guess September of last year, the bulbs have been going out but no one has replaced them. We were down to 1 bulb, so if that one went out, it would be total darkness in there. Someone finally took the time to replace them all, so now it’s like walking into the goddamn sun because it’s 7 new bulbs. “They” won’t get me now!!! Anyway. Thought I’d share.

What say you?


  1. I read the script, and while it has its flaws, is much better than the film that was produced. I guess it's a testament to rewriting not always being a betterment in the film process.

  2. I know its kind of inane to post a comment a couple of years after the original post, but I liked this one, including both endings. I found this site a few days ago and I've been reading all your posts from the beginning in 2007, so it will take me a while to get current, but I felt I had to comment here.

  3. I got to say I preferred the ending they went with. None the less, excellent review.


Movie & TV Show Preview Widget