The premise of horror flick set at a gay conversion camp sounds like a promising idea. But after watching They/Them, as a horror fan, I was kinda let down. Despite that I didn’t completely hate it.
A flick being called They “slash” Them is funny and in your face considering it’s a slasher film starring gay and non-binary characters.
I love Kevin Bacon always have and the song and dance number to P!nk’s “Fuckin’ Perfect” was fun but that’s about it. It was cool to see the actress from My Girl all grown up and the protagonist was likeable… still this film was very meh. Despite all of that, I tried to shy away from the fact that this was rather woke and is trying to appeal to gay audiences, which ironically includes yours truly. However, that doesn’t take away from the premise. What makes this film fall flat is that it tries to more to empower than to scare. Yeah, it can push the narrative but it’s not too unenjoyable. Yet for a flick that tries to mirror films like Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp, both of which are decades older, it ends up getting predictable… very predictable!
You have cliche tropes, such as opening kill scene that honestly made me more upset as I screamed “BITCH JUST DRIVE THE DAMN CAR!” You have the cliche final character, sinister guy in charge, creepy revelation photos, a protagonist who’s actually antagonist oh and let’s not forget the creepy groundskeeper… and his name was Balthazar! Like seriously 🙄. I mean I know the film is meta in this storyline but Balthazar? Seriously?
Honestly, I felt like this flick is trying to do what Get Out did but on a camp setting. In fact, it felt like it was like they took the premise of Sleepaway camp and Get Out and said let’s make them gay!
Honestly, the best part of the flick was the beginning when the campers are sent to their cabins based on gender. Jordan being a trans, non-binary person, is left undecided but eventually ends up going to the boy’s cabin.
My biggest gripe was that I wished the flick would have stuck with their story a bit more because it often felt like it was trying to also stuff the jock who’s in the closet, the trans girl who has not had bottom surgery, the flamboyant gay black guy, the lesbian who’s not out, the tough dyke and so on. All of these characters were awesome but in such a short run time, it felt all over the place and in other scenes it worked a bit. Maybe this flick would have worked had they focused on one theme or protagonist, specifically a person that uses the pronouns they/them. They/Them instead tries to juggle multiple themes, protagonists and subplots.
But again that wasn’t even my biggest gripe. What makes the Friday films and Sleepaway Camp better in their story telling, especially the latter since the killer is indeed a biological boy, is that they kills were way better. In They/Them, most of the kills are either off screen or barely gory save for Kevin Bacon (sorry spoiler). Also, none of the main characters save for the camp counselors actually die. Not one!
All in all, They/Them is not the worst movie out there and it’s woke theme doesn’t overpower its plot, but it does suffer from a bit of lazy kills and storytelling.
They/Them can be streamed on Peacock.
My Vote: It needs more blood and gore as well as some better screenwriting. I give 1 & a half out of 4 thumbs up.
Until Next Time Kiddies,
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