After witnessing a horrific and traumatic event, Julia Lund, a graduate student in psychology, gradually comes to the realization that everything which scared her as a child could be real. And what's worse, it might be coming back to get her...Written by
The explanation for why "They" target certain children and return later to hunt them down is ambiguous. One theory is that "They" are doing what human researchers do when we study a species which is to tag the specimen, release it, and later use the tracking device to find it again in order to chart its progress and development. Also similar to human researchers, "They" won't tag and study every single creature in the breed, just a random few to study in depth. See more »
When Julia gets out of the car, the warning signal lights are off. In the next shot they're blinking. See more »
Three scenes are featured in the work print, but excluded from the theatrical release. The first two can be found on the Japanese DVD and are as follows:
After Julia sees the mark on the little girl's arm Dr. Booth comes into the waiting room to find her gone. She's at a hardware store instead buying various lighting supplies. The cashier asks Julia "Going camping?" and she doesn't reply.
Before Julia leaves for Billy's funeral she is shown in her bedroom packing. Paul makes breakfast for her and the two have an intimate moment before she leaves.
After Julia removes the object from her scalp she runs to Sam's apartment. As Sam is being attacked Julia is shown running through the city. She enters the building and calls out "Sam!" twice. The second time he hears her and yells back "Julia?," but he is pulled underneath the elevator. She calls out his name twice more and his body is thrown through a window and it lands on top of her. A monster on his back growls at Julia and pulls Sam's corpse into the darkness.
A typical genre piece but a reasonably enjoyable one on those terms
When Julia Lund goes to a late night diner to meet friend Billy she assumes he is on something when he starts babbling about how "they" come for him in the dark and how he has to work nights to survive. However she did not expect him to kill himself, claiming that it is his only way to escape the monsters that he fears in the dark. At the funeral she meets some friends of Billy who seem to believe his ramblings and tell her stories that cannot possibly be true. When Julia herself starts seeing things in the dark, she starts to doubt her own sanity.
Opening with a scene that trades nicely on childhood fears of the dark and dark spaces, this film continues with the one idea that there are monsters out there but cannot ever get above the level of basic and rather obvious horror. Not that this is a bad thing in itself but put it this way it is very much a "Wes Craven Presents" affair even if his name was taken off it for wider release. The story isn't great as really it is just enough narrative to string together lots of flickering lights, shadowy movements and jump scares; it never gets below the surface and is never intriguing enough to really engage but then I suppose that is not what the film is aiming for. Rather it just wants to be a horror that trades on sudden things and half seen creatures and, as such, it works well enough. The creatures stay hidden even when you see them (a good thing) and the ending does not betray the mood of the majority.
The cast aren't anything to write home about but they are as good as the standard you expect for such films. Regan is impressive even if a lot of her role involves screaming; she still does manage to descent convincingly and her fear is believable. As director Harmon enjoys the ominous places such as cupboards and corners and he uses them well even if he is never above having something suddenly jump out it is hardly Ring but it suits the type of film he is trying to make.
Overall this is not a great film but it is an enjoyable genre film a horror with unseen beasts and lots of basic jump scares. It doesn't work above that level but thankfully it doesn't really try to. It may be bad grammar, but if you like this sort of thing then "They" is worth checking out, even if it is a bit samey and predictable for the majority.
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