On the heels of The Ring comes They, a similarly morose and humorless horror movie that, although flawed, is to be commended for its straight-ahead approach to creepiness.
Julia (newcomer Laura Regan, a cross between Bridget Fonda and Mia Farrow circa 1968) is a graduate student in psychology. After longtime friend Billy commits suicide in front of her after ranting about creatures, Julia finds herself plagued by visions of the demons.
Julia suspects they may be related to the night terrors she and Billy suffered as children. But this time, the creatures aren’t out to scare her — they’re out to take and keep her.
They opens with a jackhammer scare, an unexpectedly violent scene involving a terrified little kid. It also has a particularly icky instance that will make you think twice about those swimming with you in the public pool and an ending that works perfectly with the film’s mood.
Also refreshing is the way the film never offers a full look at the creatures. We know they’re pitch-black, squirrelly and slimy, but allowing our imagination to fill in the gaps is a sly filmmaking move.
Ultimately, They cops out with too many cheap standbys such as the super-loud phone and the hallways with no-watt bulbs. These lessen the effect of what is otherwise a rather intriguing blend of the psychological and supernatural thriller genres.