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They/Them Assessment

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PLOT: A gaggle of LGBTQ youths spending every week at a conversion camp come to find {that a} masked slasher is stalking the camp, selecting individuals off one-by-one.

REVIEW: After spending greater than thirty years build up his screenwriting profession and incomes three Oscar nominations alongside the way in which (for Gladiator, The Aviator, and Hugo), John Logan has teamed up with Blumhouse Productions to make his directorial debut with the horror film They/Them (we’re meant to pronounce the title They-slash-Them). Logan’s option to direct a horror film isn’t that stunning, provided that he has labored on tasks like Alien: Covenant and Sweeney Todd earlier than, and created the tv sequence Penny Dreadful, however it’s considerably stunning that he determined to make a slasher. A really nice shock.

They/Them is ready at a homosexual conversion camp known as Camp Whistler, the place a bunch of LGBTQ youths arrive to spend every week below the steering of proprietor Owen Whistler (Kevin Bacon) and his counselors, who’re performed by the likes of Boone Platt, Carrie Preston, Hayley Griffith, and Anna Chlumsky. The truth that Logan determined to present the conversion camp in his story the identify Camp Whistler makes me marvel if it’s meant to be a nod to the outdated perception that an individual’s sexuality could be decided by seeing if they will whistle or not. Conversion camps have terrible reputations, however one thing appears off about this one proper from the beginning as a result of Owen appears means too good. Too tolerant, too progressive. And certain sufficient, there are some very darkish secrets and techniques hidden simply beneath the floor at Camp Whistler. This is able to be a horrible place to spend time at even when there wasn’t a masked slasher lurking round, selecting individuals off when the chance arises.

They Them

As you’ll anticipate from Logan, there’s a very robust concentrate on character on this film, and he spends time letting us get to know a number of of the youngsters who’ve come to this camp. There are homosexual males, lesbian females, trans characters, and one non-binary character who prefers the pronouns they/them. They every have their very own causes for being at Camp Whistler within the first place. Some had been pressured to go to the camp by their mother and father, whereas others have proven up with the hope that Whistler and his counselors will someway be capable to make them straight. And a few of them do discover their path in life whereas at this camp – however the assist comes from having the ability to work together with friends who’re coping with related points. There are heartwarming, uplifting moments in They/Them as we see these youths discovering who they really are and studying to simply accept themselves. Issues get so uplifting, the youths even escape right into a musical quantity at one level.

Theo Germaine, Quei Tann, Austin Crute, Monique Kim, Anna Lore, Cooper Koch, and Darwin del Fabro play the campers we get to know finest throughout their time at Camp Whistler, and every considered one of them delivered a terrific efficiency, completely dealing with the fabric they got. Germaine is our lead, the non-binary character Jordan, a robust and succesful one who tries to assist others out of this terrible state of affairs they’ve discovered themselves in. We spend extra time with the campers than with the advisors, however Logan makes certain we all know what’s occurring with the individuals working this camp as properly. We learn how every of them works and whether or not or not they actually wish to assist these children.

They/Them

Along with the good character work, Logan additionally digs into the weather you look forward to finding in a slasher. Intercourse, violence, and bloodshed. It’s nice to see Kevin Bacon in a camp slasher greater than forty years after he met a bloody demise within the authentic Friday the 13th – and this actually proves that Bacon ought to keep distant from camps, as a result of nothing good ever comes out of it for him or the individuals round him. And there’s one other deal with for Friday the thirteenth followers on this film. They/Them was filmed at Laborious Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge, Georgia, on the camp proper throughout the lake from the camp that served as Camp Forest Inexperienced (previously Camp Crystal Lake) in Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI. So we’re seeing Kevin Bacon in a slasher film, on the similar lake Jason Voorhees stalked in Jason Lives. And “Jason Voorhees” is instantly referenced within the dialogue. It’s additionally price noting that this similar camp served as the first location in final yr’s Concern Avenue Half Two: 1978. It’s all the time enjoyable to see slashers overlapping and utilizing the identical areas.

Logan has gotten his directing profession off to a terrific begin with They/Them, which is a satisfying slasher film with some spectacular writing and appearing. Kevin Bacon, bloodshed, a musical quantity, what extra may you need from a film? I’ll positively be having extra viewings of this one sooner or later, as a result of They/Them is (virtually) excellent to me.

They/Them is now accessible to observe on the Peacock streaming service.

Arrow in the Head reviews John Logan's slasher They/Them, now available to watch on the Peacock streaming service. Starring Kevin Bacon

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