They Look Like People review: “A must for fans of quirky indie twisting thrillers.”

They Look Like People review

Director: Perry Blackshear
Cast: Macleod Andrews, Evan Duouchel, Margaret Ying Drake
Certificate: 15
Running Time: 80 minutes

Synopsis: Working on the understanding that something is infecting those around him, Wyatt (Andrews) becomes convinced that the world is ending. When faced with this information he faces the problem of saving himself or risking everything to save his best friend Christian (Duouchel).

They Look Like People isn’t your usual Frightfest film. Or to put it a different way it’s not the type of horror film that one would expect to screen at an event called Frightfest. Of course Frightfest isn’t all big-breasted cheerleaders running around nearly naked, pursued by some middle-aged loner, yet They Look Like People is so drastically different from everything else on offer.

Instead of the ‘usual’ it is a dark and psychological tale about a young man whom is either going mad or has been chosen as an acolyte for a forthcoming war / apocalypse. There are elements of horror, enough to keep audiences engaged, but it is the significant difference to other films that will really hook people. Although not a horror, more of a dark drama, They Look Like People is full of an uneasy / uncomfortable atmosphere which sits underneath the piece. When combined with  a sparse and creepy score, as well as some disturbing images and sound design, the tense atmosphere will keep audiences on edge.

Careful to never give the viewer too much insight or information, writer / director Perry Blackshear presents titbits of evidence and lets the audience interpret the facts however they wish. The story and setting are fairly static; most of the action takes place in only a handful of locations and its a very cerebral story. That isn’t to say that the film lags or grows tiresome, instead the pace is controlled by the editing.

At the core They Look Like People is all about the friendship between two men. Their relationship is so touching and easy that the viewer is instantly drawn in and feels at once at home. It’s so incredibly believable that it adds a layer of realism to the piece. The dynamic between them is perfectly balanced as well; both care deeply for the other. Christian tries to help get Wyatt a job, in addition to giving him a place to stay, he even tries to strike up a romantic entanglement for his old friend. Meanwhile Wyatt, who is privy to the information that the world is coming to an end, is desperate to keep Christian safe at all costs, even when he is warned by those around him that saving Christian will lead to his own downfall. Wyatt and Christian are the best bromance since Bill and Ted.
They Look Like People review
Some of the best portions of the film are where we get to see the pair just being friends and being silly. Ladies, it also offers an eye-opening look into just what men get up to when we’re not around. I wonder how long it will be before blobbie wars becomes a staple of men’s nights everywhere.
It isn’t all about the men though, Margaret Ying Drake is great as Mara, the object of Christian’s affections. Refreshingly she has some backbone to her, more than the usual victim girlfriend that other films so often utilize. She’s also a real-life Judo champ so the moves she performs in the movie are all natural.
With Donnie Darko and Primer vibes, They Look Like People is a must for fans of quirky indie twisting thrillers.
They Look Like People review, Kat Hughes, August 2015.
They Look Like People screens at 9pm on the Splice screen on Sunday 30th August.