They Look Like People (2016)

they_look_like_people_poster“Suspecting that people around him are turning into evil creatures, a troubled man questions whether to protect his only friend from an impending war, or from himself.”

I don’t often get to say this, it seems, but I deeply enjoyed this movie. It’s worth saying, right off the top, that this is not a horror movie in the strictest sense of the word. It has some elements of horror but feels much more like a psychological drama than anything.

This is the first feature from writer and director Perry Blackshear, and it has gotten me really excited to see what might be coming next from him. He has crafted a genuinely interesting story that puts us in the world of Wyatt, played by MacLeod Andrews, who believes that there are creatures invading and infecting those around him. What I appreciated about this movie is that it leaves no ambiguity as to what is happening, but forces you to experience Wyatt’s world, and to accept what he sees as real. His story is complex and effective, even though this particular film, on the surface, is quite simplistic.

I am hesitant to go into too much detail about this, honestly, because I really urge people to see this. The performances are great, and they’ve made a very minimal budget work for them in a significant way. Strong performances from the cast certainly helped sell this, the chemistry between Wyatt and Christian is pretty genuine, and you really get a sense that Christian worries about, and wants to help his friend; though the course of action he chooses isn’t one that I would necessarily recommend.

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As well as the strong acting, there is some really great cinematography at work here as well. A particular scene that stands out in my mind involves cutting back between close up shots of Wyatt and Christian, you’ll know it when you see it, but suffice it to say it’s a genuinely creepy scene.

People does suffer a little bit from its small budget, the few computer effects that show up feel a bit cheesy and ultimately unnecessary, but they aren’t nearly enough to do much permanent damage to the movie at all. Blackshear has crafted a genuinely unsettling and disorienting film here, and the less said about it the better.

Strong acting, and a compelling piece of filmmaking that is worth your time. Leave it at that.

MY RATING: ****

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