Worth A Look: 11.36%
Pretty Bad: 45.45%
Total Crap: 43.18%
4 reviews, 20 user ratings
by Doug Bentin
No, I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong. “Them!” is the 1954 movie about giant ants. Plus, it has an exclamation point in the title.Brother, this is getting confusing. When I say “it has an exclamation point,” I’m not talking about “It,” which was a 1927 romantic comedy with Clara Bow and no exclamation point. It in “It” is sex appeal, not giant ants. Giant ants are only sexy to other giant ants, and maybe not even to them. Or should I say “Them!”?
"Do 'They'? No, 'They' don't."
If it seems like a lot of movies that aren’t “They” are doing laps in the kiddie pool that is my brain, right you are. The problem is that “They” has no plot, only a situation. No characters, only cardboard cutouts set up to be knocked down. No originality, only a series of “homages” to directors who are a helluva lot better than TV hack Robert Harmon (whose work can currently be seen on the Spielberg produced “Taken”).
The flick shoots its best bolt in the beginning as we see a young boy in his bed and terrorized by a window-rattling thunderstorm. He looks around the room and we get the standard series of shots of inanimate objects, ominous looking because lightning is illuminating them in a jagged manner. We expect something to come to life and go after him. Little do we know at this point that coming to life is not what this movie does best.
Anyway, in the time-honored way of Mommies everywhere, this kid’s mater tells him to quit whining because there’s nothing in the dark that can hurt him.
Whoa, time out. Reality check. Mom, of course there are things in the dark that can hurt you. The dark is scary for a reason. That’s why they call it “the dark.” If it wasn’t scary, it would be “the light.”
I wanted her to be the one They would leap out of the closet and grab, pulling her under the bed. No, they got the kid. There was consolation. I like it in horror movies when the Beastie gets the kid because there are always some numbnuts parents who drag little Johnny or Susie to movies like this, and if the kid keeps them awake with the spookjitters all night, they deserve it.
When the movie proper begins it’s 19 years later. Not 20, just 19. No significance, it just caught my attention. See how dull this thing is going to become, if this is what I remember clearly?
So it’s 19 years later and some guy named Billy who may be the little boy grown up calls a psych major named Julia (Laura Regan) to tell her that the night terrors they used to get as kids have come back. He is so distraught about this that he shoots himself under the chin while they are talking in a café.
At his funeral, Julia meets Sam and Terry (Ethan Embry and Dagmara Dominczyk) who were friends of Billy’s and are having new night terrors of their own. Then Julia begins having them and They, whatever They are, start claiming victims.
I think we’re told that, a la the aliens in “X-Files,” They come to you when you’re a kid and plant something in your head that will allow They to return to you 19 years later and harvest you. Why They have to wait and what They do with you is left unclear, but it’s not good.
I won’t spoil any [hyperbole alert] surprises by telling you who gets metaphorically dragged under the bed, but I guess I should mention that Julia’s boyfriend, who doesn’t have night terrors because he spends his days pulling people out of burning cars (hell, I don’t know), is played by Marc Blucas, who used to be Riley on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Actually, he still is Riley in DVD immortality, but here his name is Paul.
This is one from a recent crop of American horror films that joyfully eschew plot and characterization in an attempt to duplicate the European style of spookshow, relying on visuals alone to sweep you away. Unfortunately, this broom is missing too many bristles and the visuals are as tattered as everything else.And as long as I’m playing silly games with the title of this movie, let me point out that there is a picture out there called “They Bite.” This one could easily be called “’They’ Bites.”
Two exclamation points!!
link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6392&reviewer=405
originally posted: 10/05/05 06:53:12