Directed by Perry Blackshear
Starring: MacLeod Andrews,
Margaret Ying Drake,
This independent psychological horror film shot in 2014 and released to Cinema’s in the usually dead month (for the big screen) of January 2015 tells the story of two old friends who are reunited after bumping into one another in the street. It’s important to note that before the two meet, we see a scene with Wyatt lying in bed next to a woman we learn was his wife, but an impossibly angled single shadow seems to perfectly block out her features, leaving for a strangely uneasy scene. And then back to the narrative.
Christian (Evan Dumouchel) has a flat in New York and is an office worker with designs on dating his boss Mara (Margaret Ying Drake). One day Christian sees his old friend Wyatt (MacLeod Andrews) as they almost pass by one another unnoticed on the sidewalk.They stop and after a few awkward moments, Christian decides to invite Wyatt up-to his flat for beers and a catch up.
Christian discovers all is not well with Wyatt after finding out that his marriage has fallen apart. Although Wyatt says he’s spending time staying at some unknown friend’s apartment, Christian senses this isn’t true and even though Christian has a date with his boss that very evening, he tells Wyatt to stay at his place for the night, and accompany him on his date. There’s some humorous inter-play as the two late 20 somethings get ready to meet the ladies. As they’re on route, tragedy strikes when Christian receives a call from Mara explaining her friend has fallen and banged her head, but desperate for the date not to fail before it even begins Christian tells Mara he and his friend will meet them if they wait at the location near where the fall occurred.
The four meet, Wyatt seems like he might even be medically trained, peering into Mara’s friend, Sandy’s eyes with a light, before then admitting she’s best getting some professional medical advice. These night scenes are well shot and moodily lit, showing that Director Perry Blackshear knows how to set up and layer uncomfortable scenes in a well-paced manner, nothing’s happening yet, but it doesn’t feel like you’re watching nothing happen, and that, is all down to the mood created by the director and carried out by this excellent cast.
They do indeed go to a Hospital and Christian along with Wyatt do the gentlemanly thing and go with the two ladies. After hours spent inside the hospital they walk home and at the moment where Christian and Mara should find themselves kissing one another goodnight, something just doesn’t quite click, and the kiss doesn’t happen.
Both wander off feeling disappointed. Back at Christians he and Wyatt have a few beers and a hazy night ends with Wyatt assuring Christian that he’s sure Mara will see him again. Christian’s flat is fairly small, so Wyatt is on the floor with some sheets and pillows, across from Christian’s bed. As Christian falls asleep Wyatt receives a very strange anonymous phone call telling him he only has time to save himself, and he must leave the city in order to be prepared for the coming demonic invasion.
Is it a real call? Is someone really giving Wyatt a warning to get out of dodge?
The next day, Christian returns to work, and we cut to Wyatt meeting a psychiatrist in a public park near a large pond and so it would appear that maybe Wyatt’s mind is deteriorating as he admits to feelings of mania and that he hears a voice. The psychiatrist begins to discuss medication and all seems to be going well, until he carries on mentioning further treatment options; we see that Wyatt suddenly fears the psychiatrist. Could it be possible this shrink is already a demon and is entrapping Wyatt?
Wyatt is taking no chances and leaves never wanting to see the Doctor again. As the movie progresses we see both friends lives begin to falter badly. Christian loses his job, a weird incident occurs between Mara and Wyatt and all in all the film begins its eerie downward spiral for both men.
The concluding scenes are genuinely nail biting and you’ll be glued to the screen as the intense ending plays out before you. Director Perry Blackshear deserves credit for his vision and execution of ‘They Look like People’, and both lead actors, MacLeod Andrews as Wyatt, and Evan Dumouchel as Christian, do sterling jobs portraying the best friends falling into a nightmarish world.
Filmed on a shoe string ‘They Look like People’ went on-to win six film Festival awards and was generally given high praise by the critics.The ending really is truly terrifying and original, and the chemistry between the two male leads makes for a brilliantly weird interplay of the good and bad and by the end, we just aren’t sure who actually is the bad and the good.
If you’re a fan of psychological horror then you ‘must’ put ‘They Look like People’ on your to watch list. Fans of the more action and gore orientated horror movies out there these days may not enjoy this but either way, I personally think every horror fan should give this film a viewing.
TORCHLIGHTS CHILLERS RATING 8/10
Movie Review By Andrew James Barclay
Categories: Film Reviews