I’m a sucker for watching movies that I just know will be bad, as I want to see just how bad they could possibly be. Well, I have found a new standard of low with They/Them.
I am a little dubious about writing this review, as the subject matter could open the door to all sorts of controversy. Still, what’s the worst that could happen? Some free advertising! So here goes…
The blurb on the IMDb at the moment sets the stall out, calling this an LGBTQIA+ empowerment tale set at a gay conversion camp.
This is exactly right. This isn’t a slasher movie. It’s not a reboot of any of the “murderer at a campsite” movies. It just spends its time telling us, the audience, how great being LBGTV is. Personally, I prefer Samsung, but each to their own.
The movie is about 10% slasher, and 90% about being gay, lesbian, pan, bi, trans, or whatever else you can think of and how great it is to be that way and no one should change you to “normal”.
The direction of the movie is serviceable with bog-standard, crappy jump scares, but that’s about it. The cast is all pretty good too. Bacon turns in a good performance and everyone else is believable.
It’s the script and story that drags They/Them down.
I have no issues with the LBGT community. I have friends who are in that group and they are good people. What I do have an issue with is the people that scream and shout about that community and tell me that if I say one thing bad about them! I’m *insert term* phobic. And that is, unfortunately, this movie.
I am going to be talking about spoilers but, honestly, anyone with an IQ over room temperature should stay away from this movie so who am I really spoiling it for?
Some woman gets murdered in her car by someone in a mask and this pays off just under 2 hours later.
A bus turns up at a summer camp, where people who LBGTQ+ go to be “cured”. Bacon is the camp leader and seems like a nice guy. The first issue is that the group is separated into boys and girls. There isn’t a hut for in-betweeners, and one of the of the trans people has to go to the boy’s shed.
There are about 20 people but the movie only focuses on about 8 of them, so the rest of the group are basically extras who never talk or have any interaction, they are just background filler.
In the main group there’s a girl who goes for a shower and we find out she’s a transexual who still has her manhood. Obviously, we’re never going to see their manhood like in Sleepaway Camp, because this is 2022 and the director and producers have completely pussied out, pardon the pun.
After this, everyone sits down in the circle of trust to talk about why they are there. None of the extras are there, just the main cast. We are then shown how oppressed everyone is and how badly they are treated because of being LBGT.
The rest of the first act and then the second act is about how great it is to be LBGT and how everyone should just live the lives they want.
The first murder doesn’t happen until about an hour in when the creepy janitor gets killed, proving the masked killer is not the creep janitor, since he was too obvious. It’s not like the writer even tries to hide the fact that this is misdirection.
There are two love scenes. The first is between two lesbian girls who strip off to their bras before it cuts away to the sunset. By comparison, the other scene is between two guys and it’s pretty gratuitous, with lots of naked ass action and very little left to the imagination. This all feels very deliberate.
I guess this is because of female empowerment and just the state of entertainment at the moment. Maybe it’s a value statement? We can see two guys going at it, but it’s disrespectful to see women doing it?
It turns out that Bacon is torturing some of the kids into being “normal” and the masked killed is Anna Chlumsky, who was at the camp years ago and she’s back for revenge.
She killed the woman in the opening and took her place as the camp doctor. That’s the slasher part all done and dusted and it is honestly about 15 minutes of They/Them.
The good news is that she was a former visitor and knows what it’s like there, so she doesn’t murder any of the LBGT visitors. They are all fine and no one gets hurt. Obviously, in this day and age we cannot do anything to hurt anyone in the LGT community, as that would make us *insert term* phobic.
There was an actual stink caused when, in Halloween Kills, Michael murdered two gays. Some people saw this as homophobic. Michael isn’t homophobic, he’s human-phobic, and he kills everyone. Of course, the activists on social media didn’t see it that way.
They/Them completely panders to this type of activist. None of the camp members are injured at all, it’s only the oppressive staff members and Bacon himself.
*End of spoilers*
This movie has been getting a lot of praise for having an almost complete cast of LBGT actors but, honestly, I feel bad for them. They had a chance to break through here and maybe make some important statements, but the movie is just utter shit.
There are ways to deal with important issues and modern cultural trends, but this movie is not one of them.
They/Them gets a terribly low score. It is honestly one of the worst things I have seen in a while and will be my new standard of what I compare other bad movies to.
The only reason to watch this movie is to see how bad it is and to see just how it panders to social media trends. The whole subject could have been handled well, made some interesting statements, and been a new, fresh entry in a familiar genre. It just fails completely.