Wednesday, June 07, 2006

They (2002)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A group of people is drawn together due to circumstances surrounding the suicide of a friend, only to find that they all used to have night terrors when they were little and that they're all experiencing the return of them as well. Slowly they begin to see that perhaps their dead friend wasn't crazy after all, that perhaps something from their past is returning to "harvest" them.

Scariness factor: It's creepy moreso than scary, I'd venture to say. There's no real jump-in-your-seat moments, but there are some bizarre and creepy dream-like sequences.

Gross-Out Factor: Not very high--the worst you'll see is someone poking at an open-wound on their head and slowly and gratuitously pulling out what looks to be a very large splinter.

Complaints: Explanations, Wes Craven! I totally dig the notion of a horror flick about night terrors, but I have about 1500 questions surrounding the circumstances that unravel in this movie which are never cleared up (and whose answers are never even *hinted* at)! What are the creatures that are returning for these people? Why are they returning anyways--what purpose does it serve? (That's my biggest question.) Why kill them? Why not kill them back when they were kids instead of tracking them, waiting forever, and then returning for them 20 years down the road? Why the weird wounds left behind on them as "trackers?" How exactly do they function as trackers? Why can't the bad creatures be in the light? At least you could've answered the LARGER questions--I mean, the success of the whole movie rests on us believing that there COULD be some sort of reason that these people are having night terrors again and that they're being hunted back down by some evil force, and yet WE NEVER FIND OUT WHY. /end lecture, Wes Craven. Other complaints: as with most of these types of horror flicks, there are lots and lots of incongruities and nonsensicalnesses (yeah, that's a word!), so prep yourself for that.

High Points: I really *do* dig the notion of a horror flick about night terrors. I used to have them when I was little, and I still very vividly remember a few of them. And the way the nightmares lap over to actually become part of your waking reality WHILE YOUR EYES ARE OPEN is a terrifying (and crazily strange but fascinating) thing. So this seems like prime subject matter for a flick. And the actual instances of night terrors in this movie *are* fairly creepy and do capture the sensation of what it's like to pull your actual nightmares into reality. But unfortunately these moments are few and far between. I also kind of liked the physicality of the evil creatures (though again, the CGI is a bit hit-or-miss at times)--they actually seem like an embodiment of shadows, the way that they move around and form out of the darkness as though they ARE the darkness in a physical form. This movie kind of reminded me of Final Destination at times (which is a movie I really quite like) until the evil creatures became more visible because until then, they seemed more like a force tracking down the victims rather than an entity. And that always creeped me out (and was what was brilliant about) Final Destination as well--that the protagonist is not in fact a PERSON or BEING but an inescapable force.

Overall: All in all, I think I liked the *notion* and idea of a movie about night terrors more than I actually liked the movie itself--if *I* had gotten my hands on this material before Wes Craven, well, I would've made a piece of shit, of course, seeing as I have no movie-making background. But I *definitely* would've explored the melding of nightmare and reality a bit more. However, while not a mind-blowingly fantastic movie, it was entertaining if nothing else. So if you happen to see it at the library or something and have some time to kill, it wouldn't do you any harm to pick it up.

Oh, and that book with brain on it that you see featured at the beginning of the movie and then a couple times later? I felt like a big old nerd last night after I got all excited because I JUST FINISHED READING THAT! Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind--too bad they don't actually discuss night terrors in the book though, because I bet you it would be fricking FASCINATING.

Grade: C



Post a Comment

<< Home