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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Wes Craven Presents They
Wes Craven Presents They
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG-13 // June 10, 2003
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted June 5, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Is it any wonder that nobody went to see a movie called "They"? I mean, could there be a less creative title? They should have just called it "Another Horror Movie". That would be a more accurate title for this bland horror picture, one of several mid-budget pictures from Miramax/Dimension films that were dumped into theaters for minor theatrical releases in the past year. Oddly enough, this one actually has horror director Wes Craven's name attached, although he had no hand in the picture aside from getting a paycheck for having his name in the title.

The film opens with a young boy named Billy protesting to his mother that there are creatures in the night out to get him. She ignores his warnings and, soon enough, he's being dragged under the bed. "They" isn't to be confused with "Darkness Falls", although it's understandable one could get the two mixed up, as they're both remarkably similar to one another.

The movie then moves forward in time, focusing on Julia (Laura Regan), who was Billy's childhood friend and is now seeing Paul (Marc Blucas of "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer"). After warning Julia in a diner about the night terrors he's still having, Billy, well...takes himself out of the picture. Soon enough, she's finding more about the creatures that stalked them when they were children.

Director Robert Harmon is obviously going for a psychological horror feature, showing little and trying to coax as much tension as possible out of spooky environments and respectable sound design. There are moments when this is successful - the movie does have a few decent moments of creepiness up its sleeve, although they're nothing viewers haven't seen before, nor is there anything scary. However, aside from a few decent moments, "They" suffers pretty terribly from bad dialogue and performances that certainly do nothing to enhance it. We get neither interesting characters - all of which could barely be called one-dimensional - or an interesting monster (which is hardly shown and talked about in a way too vague manner). Why do the monsters come after certain people? I don't know. What do they look like? Couldn't really tell. Why should I care? No idea.

"They" has a couple of moments where it looked like it might go somewhere, but it simply never follows through. There's barely a plot here, some very thinly written characters and a few creepy locations. None of it adds up to anything much.


The DVD

VIDEO: "They" is presented by Dimension in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is merely an average presentation. Although there are scenes that appear more well-defined than others, the film's hazy lighting results in most scenes appearing soft and lacking in depth and definition. Although an issue with the photography, it made some of the scenes rather tough to watch.

Other issues also present themselves throughout the DVD, although they're largely hidden by the film's dim lighting. Some specks and minor marks present themselves on the print used, and there's also some minimal edge enhancement occasionally visible. The film's color palette is dark and not at all distinctive, but it appears to be presented accurately.

SOUND: "They" fares a bit better in the sound department, but the film's occasional creepiness could have been extended with a better sound mix. There are moments of very fine surround use at times, as the rear speakers offer spooky effects and nice ambience. However, the mix is inconsistent, and while some scenes put the speakers to good use, there are more that are largely front-heavy. While the mix isn't too ambitious, sound quality is rather good, as dialogue remained clear and occasional strong bass is present.

EXTRAS: An alternate ending and some previews for other Miramax/Dimension titles are the only supplements.

Final Thoughts: "They" starts to get mildly creepy in one or two scenes, but it never goes anywhere and I was bored for most of the running time. Dimension offers a decent DVD edition, but horror fans should probably look elsewhere. Not recommended.

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