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THEY

Laura Regan, Marc Blucas, Dagmara Dominczyk, Ethan Embry, Jon Abrahams

Directed by: Robert Harmon Written by: Brendan Hood Distributor: Dimension

US: 27/11/02 UK: 01/11/02

After witnessing a horrible incident, a graduate student (Regan) struggles to find the link between her childhood fear of the dark and the night terrors she now suffers, and must confront what may or may not be real.
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"Yes Mark, if you say so... you're arms are very nice"




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From the night-monsters school of horror, this film tries very hard to tap into primal fears with its relatively clever and subtle style. Yet while it does deliver some good jolts, it never quite cranks up the terror. Julia (Regan) has a happy life with her hunky EMT boyfriend Paul (Blucas), when a voice from her past comes back to haunt her. Billy (Abrahams) is seeing monsters again--the same creatures of the dark that tormented both him and Julia as children, and this time he's sure they're back to get him. From here Julia's life descends into a waking nightmare as she, too, begins to see these slithering beasts whenever the lights are off, which is happening quite a lot lately due to a series of rolling blackouts. So she links up with Billy's friends Sam and Terry (Embry and Dominczyk) to try and survive. Paul of course thinks she's clearly loosing her mind.

For people afraid of the dark, these four terrified people spend an awful lot of time in places with desperately bad lighting! They also engage in rather a lot of numbskulled horror film behaviour, such as investigating, on their own, any creepy basement, scary elevator, air duct, subway track or vacant country road they can find, usually with the help of an un-trustworthy flashlight. These obvious monster movie tricks somewhat undermine the rest of the film's effectiveness. Director Harmon (The Hitcher) does crank up the tension, getting nicely petrified performances from the young cast. Regan (My Little Eye) is on track to win the Jamie Lee Curtis Scream Queen Crown of the year. While everyone else seems to be just having a bit of fun. And perhaps that's another problem: The film is wafer thin. The scares only exist for their own sake; the story has no real sense of threat until the very end. It simply plays on audience members who are frightened of being alone in the dark with a closet door ajar and dead batteries in their flashlight. Well, that's all of us then. h

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