They (2002)


They (2002)
Cast: Laura Regan, Marc Blucas, Ethan Embry, Dagmara Dominczyk
Director: Robert Harmon
Nutshell: Childhood Terrors return to traumatize their grown up victims


Having already made the terrible blunder of wasting hours of my admittedly not-so-thrilling life watching two simply horrendous pieces of crap courtesy of “Wes Craven presents” one would have thought a lesson might have been learned? None of it – when confronted with a swank looking DVD of “Wes Craven presents THEY” at the local pirate shop, all resistance melted away in the hope that third time might be lucky – again, alas no such luck. They, directed by Robert Harmon (Robert Who?) starts off rather like a slick made for cable film and continues that way for the most part – lacking any real bite or horror and needless to say gore.

They typically employs some budding young aspirants; a wispy waif-like blond is the lead character who is traumatized by some old childhood fears that seemed to have returned to haunt her once again, years after her bedwetting days. She comes across other disturbed types who have also suffered from childhood terrors – monster in the closet, creature underneath the bed sort of thing. In this film the basic premise is that those ghastly if illogical childhood fears that tormented us in our youth only go into hibernation as we go through hormonal changes during puberty only to return with a murderous vengeance later on, and just as illogical!

The scenario is that our tormented waif suffers from ominous hallucinations but of course nobody believes her, poor thing. Then when other bed-wetters start to bite the dust having also witnessed “mysterious signs” and developed nasty looking wounds that don’t heal, she feels her days are numbered and that “They” are out to get her too. No wonder nobody believes the poor girl! The problem with this horror film is that it never really gets to second gear or beyond. It remains a mildly interesting, if very Stephen King-ish premise that threatens but ultimately fails to develop into something more fascinating or horrifying. There is rarely any noteworthy suspense and as the film crawled into its second hour, this viewer was fighting off sleep and not at all scared though still hoping for a grisly monster assault that never ever arrives.

The “night terror” creatures are a rip off as well – sort of Pitch Black leftovers with nothing like the bite. Clearly budget restraints and the director’s limited flair and capabilities meant that most of the creature action would take place when it was totally dark on screen and also “they” would never appear for more than a flash at a time so that their tackiness wouldn’t be clearly visible. The script is very lame and the acting is bearable at best; though Laura Regan is both unattractive and irritating for the most part, evoking little sympathy and deserving the shock (if utterly ridiculous) end that she is dealt by the writers. The director Robert Harmon is unable to rise above his TV and cable oriented background and the film plods along to its highly pedestrian and utterly non-terrifying “shock” conclusion that should have viewers (the one’s who haven’t nodded off to sleep yet) snickering in disbelief.

However, all its weaknesses considered, and there are certainly plenty of those, this third “Wes Craven presents” film that this reviewer has had the misfortune of watching was streets better than the previous two atrocities; the ghastly Carnival of Souls remake and the rotten Wishmaster. None the less, it will take a Herculean effort for one to attempt a fourth “Wes Craven presents” cheapie even if the pirate DVD is flawless like this one was in both video and sound quality. The film was after all certainly unworthy of more than the $1.50 that was spent on it. Imagine wasting a hard earned $25 on this worthless piece of pretend horror.