Horror Film Review: They Look Like People (dir by Perry Blackshear)


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I am sure that there are some people would probably be willing to debate me on whether or not They Look Like People should be considered a horror film.  That’s fair enough.  They Look Like People is a film that, in many ways, defies easy characterization.  It’s a drama that is occasionally very comedic.  It’s a love story that isn’t necessarily romantic.  It’s an undeniably eerie film, one that keeps you guessing.  It’s a film that left me feeling very uneasy.  It made me jump and it made me doubt the shadows in the house and, for that reason, I feel comfortable calling it a horror film.

I can’t tell you too much about They Look Like People, not without spoiling it.  This is a film where unanswered questions hang over every scene.  The film eventually answers those questions but it would not be right for a reviewer to do the same thing.  Usually, I hate it when people go crazy over spoilers but They Look Like People is not a film that I would ever dream of spoiling.

It’s an indie film, about two old friends.  Christian (Evan Dumouchel) is still dealing with the insecurities of his youth.  He obsessively listens to self-help tapes.  He goes out of his way to present an image of hypermasculinity.  The thing is, as hard as he tries to come across as being an alpha male, he’s not very good at it.  The weakness and the insecurity is always right underneath the surface.  He has a crush on his boss (Margaret Ying Drake) and, despite his issues, she seems to like him as well.

One day, Christian happens to run into his childhood friend, Wyatt (MacLeod Andrews).  Wyatt, who used to have everything, now appears to be nearly homeless.  Christian invites Wyatt to stay with him at his apartment.  Wyatt claims that he has friends to stay with but soon, he is crashing on Christian’s couch.

Christian and Wyatt spend a lot of time talking about old times and there’s something undeniably charming about watching these two embrace the geekiness of their youth.  However, what Christian does not know is that Wyatt rarely sleeps through the night.  Instead, he’s regularly woken by intense nightmares.  Once awake, Wyatt wanders around the apartment, hiding weapons under chairs.  Occasionally, Wyatt gets a phone call from a mysterious voice that informs him that the demons will be invading soon.  The demons look like people.  The only way to expose them is to pour sulphuric acid on their face…

Is Wyatt crazy?  Or are the demons truly coming?  You’ll have to watch the movie to find out!  (Look for it on Netflix.  It’s there.)

They Look Like People is an amazingly creepy little film, one that repeatedly catch you off guard.  (At the same time, the film does eventually provide a definitive answer to its questions.  Admirably, this is not a film that tries to have it both ways.)  Deliberately paced and well-acted, They Look Like People is an excellent film that will keep you guessing.