Sunday, August 14, 2022


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2022
Director: John Logan
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Anna Chlumsky, Carrie Preston, Theo Germaine, Quei Tann, Austin Crute, Anna Lore, Monique Kim, Cooper Koch, Darwin del Fabro, Hayley Griffith, Boone Platt, Mark Ashworth, Brooke Jaye Taylor
Genre: Thriller, Horror, Mystery
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review
Another Blumhouse Productions feature, this one comes courtesy of writer/director John Logan, the talented screenwriter who worked with Martin Scorsese on "The Aviator" and "Hugo", as well as Sam Mendes' "Skyfall" and more recently on his own show, "Penny Dreadful". The film follows the story of a group of teenagers who find themselves in a gay conversion camp in the middle of nowhere. The camp is run by Owen Whistler, with the assistance of a small crew which includes Dr. Cora Whistler (Owen's wife), Amy the activities director, Zane the athletics director (also a former convert from the camp itself), groundskeeper Balthazar and Molly, the camp counselor. While Owen initially tries to set everyone's fears at ease, as the days evolve, the activities become progressively more challenging and the camp's true nature and that of its staff, also presents itself. However as those activities start to occur, so does the emergence of a killer who starts attacking and killing individuals from the staff as well. Jordan one of the campers, who has had their fair share of personal challenges, takes a stand and ends up leading the group against a merciless killer.
Much has been written about the tone of "They/Them", and that indeed seems to be the issue with John Logan's directorial debut. While the film has a very ripe and interesting premise, namely a conversion camp where its sadistic owners finally get their comeuppance, the director can't really find a tone for the narrative, oscillating between wanting to create an homage to the "Friday the 13th" films, combined with a slasher/b-movie approach, but also with dashes of something more dramatic and serious. In a way, opting for a slasher/b-movie approach and aesthetic would have benefited the film greatly, since the cast is more than game for it, and Kevin Bacon is one of the central performances of the film (and "Friday..." is where he actually started his career). What we get in the end, is indeed an anemic take on the slasher film genre, where the end itself wraps the narrative all too neatly, and where none of the characters, including the killer, particularly standout. While the film starts strongly, by its final chapter, it fizzles and wraps itself up in somewhat of a made for TV kind of approach (happy endings). The cast is where the film shines, with Kevin Bacon, Carrie Preston, Anna Chlumsky and Theo Germaine, all managing to have fun with their thinly written characters, however every one else on the cast has very little to do. The production values are also somewhat limited, and reinforce the perspective that this film feels as a low budged made for TV endeavor. While John Logan is definitely a name to keep an eye out, this film is a poor showcase for his talents.