Peacock's New Horror Film Forgets To Be Scary
Peacock released an inclusive slasher movie, They/Them, but forgot to actually make it frightful.
Worst Slasher Movie Ever?
They/Them (title pronounced "they slash them") is a slasher/thriller film about a group of queer teens sent to an LGBTQ+ conversion camp where a masked killer is on the loose. The movie stars Kevin Bacon as the leader of the camp, and Theo Germaine, Cooper Koch, Quei Tann, Anna Lore, Monique Kim, Austin Crute, and Darwin del Fabro as the LGBTQ+ teens. This film has been met with negative reception all around and for good reason.
The premise of this film actually has the potential to work, and it even starts out strong. The story begins with a nameless driver on her way to camp being brutally murdered by the killer in classic slasher style. Then we meet our main characters at the camp, where they're introduced to the odd camp leader who gives a monologue that's just slightly off. These first two scenes seem to set the movie off to a strong start, but everything immediately falls apart as the film progresses. This movie could have been a modern-day Friday the 13th, but instead, it turns into what is quite possibly the worst release of the year.
There isn't a single saving grace in this movie—every aspect of it is just poor. The script penned by John Logan is the main problem. The dialogue is clunky, the themes aren't explored deeply enough, and the characters undergo little (if any) character development. The actors may deserve credit for trying, but their performances are average. Kevin Bacon, who has starred in all-time classics like Footloose and Friday the 13th, feels uninspired in his performance here. Similarly, the cinematography is dull, the editing is mediocre, and the score is unexciting. Not to mention that this horror movie pretty much forgets to include any horror aspects, save from a few mediocre murder scenes.
A Killer Who Doesn't Kill
Quite possibly the worst aspect of this film is that the killer doesn't even try to kill any of the teens in this movie. Instead, they go after the homophobic and abusive camp staff, and with good reason, when it's revealed who the killer is. But, in a slasher film, the audiences want to see the killer stalking and killing the main characters to add some sense of conflict because those are the characters they care about. Sure, it's satisfying to watch the cruel staff members die, but the protagonists are never in danger from the killer, so it barely even feels like a slasher film. It's also quite a missed opportunity to not have Kevin Bacon be the killer and kill him off in a lame way.
The only thing this film has going for it is the clever title, as "they/them" are common pronouns used among LGBTQ+ teens, and if you say the "slash" part out loud, it turns into a pun about "they" slashing "them." However, this was not the original title of the movie, as it was changed from "Whistler Camp" to "Rejoice" to finally, "They/Them." This pun was used in a meme that circulated the internet several months ago, so it's believable that the director saw the meme and decided to make it the movie title to boost viewership. It may have worked, but that doesn't make this film good. It's honestly so substandard that it's offensive to not just members of the LGBTQ+ community but to movie lovers everywhere.
Raving Rating: 1.9