They/Them (2022)

They/Them (2022)

2022 101 Minutes

Horror | Thriller

Campers at an LGBTQ+ conversion camp endure unsettling psychological techniques while the campsite is stalked by a mysterious killer.

Overall Rating

1 / 10
Verdict: Awful

User Review

  • d_riptide


    1 / 10
    “They/Them”, outside of being an annoying title to pronounce, feels like the most blandest, annoying typical slasher movie ever at best and perhaps the most un-self-aware, unsubtle, infuriating piece of writing since Metroid: Other M at worst.

    I feel so sorry for John Logan here. You’d think the writer of Hugo and Gladiator would be able to squeeze out some rich ideas and robust storytelling out of a real-life tragedy; especially considering he’s gay himself. Instead, it feels like Blumhouse held a gun to the back of his head and forced him to cut corners on practically everything, resulting in a threadbare sense of direction with….hardly any of the latter.

    One of the biggest things to consider with slasher films is that there’s a delicate balance between what’s shown vs what is concealed; if the frequent turnaways and perpetual lack of ambiance is anything to take away, camerawork and editing are vapid and lifeless while the color palette runs on deep colors of grey, sand, puke and beige. Between tonal misfirings running rapid every few minutes, dull and uninventive kills, stock sounding music, tensionless atmosphere, plodded pacing padded out to obscene lengths, repetitive fake-out scares, characters as walking cliches with transparent dialogue that had me rolling my eyes and the stilted acting that followed, this wasn’t any less comfortable to sit through than the usual Daniel Farrands fiasco.

    The worst part is it becomes clear pretty early on that the writers either kept forgetting stuff or didn’t think anything through as opposed to what this film was supposed to be. For a film based on gay conversation camps that still exist by the way, it honestly looked like an ok premise to have some fun with the tropes but also expose how misguided and disastrous gay conversion therapy can be for a young person trying to find or shape their identity. Here, they intentionally skip out on deconstructing the trauma that comes with anti-gay and anti-trans bigotry and replace it with the cliched tale of personal empowerment, barely providing lip-service to the real issues needing to be discussed and further doubling down on the usual horror cliches.

    There’d be nothing wrong with that….if it was executed well, which it isn’t. With more character development, more gore and onscreen deaths, and a more interesting killer with an unpredictable motive, this could have at least been somewhat decent. I really feel like this would have been better off as a dark psychological dramedy than even attempting to incorporate any slasher elements. A few unintentional funny moments aside, it’s all just really annoying and disappointing…..

    …..until we get to one of the worst endings I’ve ever seen…..ever. That being said, the killer being predictable wasn’t the problem….more then it was the fact that the motivation and actions for doing so cruelly throws our queer protagonists under the bus for simply defending themselves. For a movie pathetically light on scares, this ends up being the most terrifying portion of the music by sheer accident: almost patronizingly finger wagging that it’s unjust to defend yourself when you’ve been wronged. It’s tasteless, insulting, disgusting and whoever the hell thought this ending was a good idea, I’d like to have a little one on one time so there’d be no cameras or witnesses.

    Yeah, I wasn’t kidding when I said Blumhouse either gets it right or not and this makes the end result all the more frustrating because you can see hints of a decent movie here. It starts off with a few nickels of something interesting and then delves into a mediocre outing going at half speed with false promises dwindling in the background. But it goes out on an AWFUL note with the final 30 minutes being hijacked by a clueless psychopath who just wanted to piss us off.