They

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Laura Regan as Julia Lund
Marc Blucas as Paul Loomis
Ethan Embry as Sam Burnside
Jon Abrahams as Billy
Dagmara Dominczyk as Terry Alba
Alexander Gould as Young Billy
Jessica Amlee as Young Julia Lund
Desiree Zurowski as Mary Parks
Mark Hildreth as Troy
Jonathan Cherry as Darren
Peter LaCroix as David Parks
Jay Brazeau as Dr. Booth
L. Harvey Gold as Prof. Crowley
David Abbott as Prof. Adkins
Jodelle Ferland as Sarah

Special Features:
Alternate Ending

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Running Time: 90 Minutes

Synopsis:
Julia Lund is a psychology student who is getting ready to defend her thesis. As the pressure mounts, her boyfriend provides comfort and distraction from the stress. However, everything changes when a childhood friend calls. The two formed a bond because they both suffered night terrors as children. They both believed that creatures were coming in the dark to take them away. While Julia got over her problems, her friend didn’t. He now believes that the creatures are coming to take him away as an adult. Unable to handle his fears, he kills himself.

It doesn’t take Julia long to meet his other friends, all of whom also suffer from night terrors. As they talk about their lost friend, they start to wonder if there was some truth behind his stories. Were there really creatures out to attack them? Are they coming back to get them, too?

“They” is rated PG-13 for terror/violence, sexual content and language.

The Movie:
I’m not a fan of horror films, but I was willing to give “They” a shot. It actually starts out pretty good. The story takes advantage of childhood fears. That’s always a good foundation to base a horror movie on. After all, everyone was afraid of monsters in their closets as children. Though the beginning starts out well, the film eventually degenerates into typical horror fare. You have the potential victim stupidly walking into a scary place alone, sticking their head into places they shouldn’t, then either being scared by a person/telephone ringing/noisy thing or being killed in a violent manner. “They” pretty much follows the standard “Horror For Dummies” formula. Most everything you see in the movie has a “been there, screamed at that” feel. It’s a cross between Alien and most horror movies ever made.

Despite being fairly derivative, it does have a few redeeming qualities. The footage looks great. The director really got his bang for his buck. The sets are creepy and perfect for the film. The sound is also very good. As creatures race around rooms, you can hear skittering throughout your home theater system. Laura Regan is also beautiful and intelligent as Julia while Ethan Embry is good as the tortured friend Sam. I think Embry would be good in some future action flicks.

The creatures in “They” are pretty good, too. You only see them in brief flashes among shadows, but they’re enough to creep you out. One scene where a creature skitters across a road is particularly creepy. I wish, though, that they had talked more about their origins, why they are attacking humans, why they pick certain people, etc. However, the alternate ending featured in the extras may explain why this was glossed over.

The Extras:
This portion of the review discusses spoilers, so beware!

There is only one extra on this DVD – the alternate ending. In this version, Julia awakes in a mental hospital to discover that the whole story was just her imagination. Every character in the film was simply another one of the mental patients in the hospital with her. Her boyfriend was actually one of the doctors in the hospital. The creatures were also imaginary. In fact, she had been in the hospital since she was 16. I personally found this ending a bit more interesting than the final version (where Julia is finally kidnapped out of the mental hospital by the creatures into their world). It added a twist that you might not have seen coming. While it has been done before in other films, it wasn’t what I was expecting.

The Bottom Line:
“They” would make a decent renter if you were looking for a scary movie. Otherwise, there’s not a lot else here.

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