They Look Like People (2016)

They Look Like People…. Looked like a good movie… But you know what they say about looks… Looks can be deceiving.

Suspecting that people around him are turning into evil creatures, a troubled man questions whether to protect his only friend from an impending war, or from himself.

Perry Blackshear’s directorial debut feels like a glorified student film. Sorry. I hate to kill the buzz, but I am actually befuddled with how many positive reviews there are for this film. I tried to enjoy it, I really did. But for a horror movie, this is just far too short on boo moments. Don’t get me wrong, I love a slow burn movie, but only if it escalates to some sort of bang finale, this kind of just fizzled out.

This low budget indie is a sensitive chiller, focuses on a true bromance story. I can understand what Blackshear was trying to convey – that mental health is the true monster – but unfortunately it’s execution is just dull compared to what other films have done. I love films that are dialogue heavy and character driven, but the acting needs to be on the same level and unfortunately here it only felt subpar.

There are few genuine spooky moments though. The opening scene is one of the creepiest, almost immediately you experience heavy dread and paranoia. The sound design too was very inventive, my skin would crawl during those moments where Wyatt’s paranoia would take over, it was like he could almost hear a transformation of bones moving underneath a person’s skin, mixed in with a swarm of bugs and flies.

Perhaps I wasn’t in the right mind frame for this style of movie. Choosing to watch it late at night for my Halloween movie marathon weekend, expecting a super creepy Body Snatcher style movie, but instead getting a psychological drama about two fragile souls. Not exactly Halloween material… Although, the film does deliver a rather sweet message about friendship and connection and how ultimately trust can be a salve for a mental wound. The final minutes were rather touching in a sombre melancholy manner.

I can appreciate that Blackshear didn’t feel the need to explain exactly was going on, and much of the narrative was left to your own interpretation, but a little more action really would have benefitted those super slow scenes. For me, it just felt like something was missing.

5.0 / 10

“I don’t believe what you believe, but I know you believe it.”

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