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They Look Like People (2015)

Unrated | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 26 February 2016 (USA)
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.

Director:

Perry Blackshear
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Cast

Credited cast:
MacLeod Andrews ... Wyatt
Evan Dumouchel ... Christian
Margaret Ying Drake ... Mara
Mick Casale Mick Casale ... Psychiatrist
Elena Greenlee Elena Greenlee ... Sandy
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Laura Ambrose Laura Ambrose ... Co-worker
Ben Blackshear Ben Blackshear ... Hipster
Perry Blackshear ... Polish Guy
Julia Guo Julia Guo ... Kat (voice)
Amaani Hamid Amaani Hamid ... Girl at Work
Jessie Kim Jessie Kim ... Hannah (voice)
Sang Wook Kim Sang Wook Kim ... Co-worker
Matt Lawrence Matt Lawrence ... Co-worker
Eric Ohrt Eric Ohrt ... Man in Subway
Carlos Palacio Carlos Palacio ... Co-worker
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Storyline

In New York, the shy Christian likes his boss Mara but is afraid to ask her out on a date. When he stumbles upon his old friend Wyatt who is passing through New York, Christian invites him to stay in his apartment. Christian is not aware of the impending doom Wyatt believes is about to befall humanity, as the people Wyatt cares most about turn into evil creatures. The war between humans and these creatures is close, and Wyatt will have to decide who he can trust to survive. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Unrated

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 February 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Izgledaju kao ljudi See more »

Filming Locations:

USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

They Look Like People See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the first feature length film written and directed by Perry Blackshear. See more »

Goofs

The microphone and wires are visible when Christian pulls up his pants at 28min 29sec. See more »

Quotes

Christian: I don't believe what you believe but I know you believe it. So just be honest with me, and you have to promise me not to kill anyone, okay?
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User Reviews

 
Incredible experimental/indie flick
4 September 2015 | by punishable-by-deathSee all my reviews

I was lucky enough to see this film as a part of the Sydney Underground Film Festival. I can certainly see why the word underground is used as this is not a conventional film at all, which is made immediately obvious from the opening scene. It certainly cannot be pigeonholed into one, two or even three genres, and has received comparisons to Darren Aronofsky's Pi, as it is a debut indie film made on a tiny budget. The plot is simple: Wyatt is visiting an estranged childhood friend, Christian, in New York City and it is immediately apparent that something isn't quite right. It seems obvious from the start that he isn't just visiting because he was in the area. In reality, he has fled to New York and has come prepared for what he believes is coming.

From the opening scene the atmosphere is thick and black, letting us know that something sinister is in the air, but we have no idea what it is exactly. Contrasting this, the movie has many humorous moments as the two friends catch up for what feels like the first time in a long while, though this is never explicitly explained. In fact, nothing in this film is clearly explained which adds further to the mystery of what is happening.

Wyatt and Christian have fun together, drinking, playing basketball; while having very candid conversations, mostly revolving around masculinity, as Christian at one point assures Wyatt that he isn't the man that he was ten years previous. The care-free nature of these conversations is yet another element that adds to the eeriness of this film as it contrasts with what is really happening. The dance this film has with different genres is done with a deft touch, and despite the complete lack of long takes, the film flows seamlessly.

Wyatt is receiving phone calls from an unknown source warning him of an impending war, telling him that no one can be trusted, not a friend, not a brother, not a neighbour. We don't know if he is hearing these voices in his head, if they are nightmares, or if they are real phone calls, but soon into the film he becomes convinced that people around him will begin turning into monsters; into demons. He begins to prepare in Christian's basement, stocking up on weapons to defend himself, weapons that he brought for the trip.

What we see, what we hear; we can never tell if Wyatt is delusional or if what he is seeing and hearing is real. I was truly on the edge of my seat for the last 20 or so minutes, for most of the movie in fact, and I am struggling to think of a title to compare this to as it is so unique and unnerving. The way the movie confuses the viewers as to what is reality does remind me slightly of Roman Polanski's REPULSION, and the two films certainly share a similar dark atmosphere, but other than this they couldn't be more different.

Another factor that creates the almost visible tension is the incredible sound editing/design, which is sublime and effectively puts us inside the minds of both characters. Whether it is a clock ticking, the sound of bees buzzing, or Christian's self-help tapes that he listens to on the subway to and from work, the way the sound is handled helps create a edgy and uneasy feeling almost immediately. This feeling is not only maintained for the entirety of the film but it magnifies, helped also by the complete lack of a soundtrack. The use of silence is also apparent and itself plays into the atmosphere that this movie manages to create.

The small budget is slightly evident – the acting is very solid but it isn't anything outstanding, while the movie utilises only one main set. This doesn't detract from the quality of the film though, in fact it adds a claustrophobic layer to the film, on top of everything else. The camera-work is also done on the cheap but is extremely effective, with a focus on facial close-ups and short takes. For a debut film though, what really shines along with the sound editing is the script. It is sparse but to the point.

Overall, for the money it took to create it, this really is quite something. Its dark nature won't appeal to the mainstream, but I imagine that is the idea of this festival. Personally, I was leaning forward, waiting on every word, every action, unable to predict what was going to happen next. This film firmly marks the arrival of a new director – Perry Blackshear – to keep a close eye on, as if this is what he can create with his first film on a self-described micro-budget, I cannot wait to see what he will do with his second attempt.

This is a film like no other, further proving my theory that the smaller the budget, the higher the level of creativity. Amazing stuff.

www.epilepticmoondancer.net


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