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2002 - PG-13 - 90 Mins.
Director: Robert Harmon
Producer: Tom Engelman, Zbigniew Kaspruk
Written By: Brendan Hood
Starring: Laura Regan, Marc Blucas, Dagmara Dominczyk, Ethan Embry, Jon Abrahams
Review by: Joe Rickey
Better than expected thriller about people’s nightmares, or “Night Terrors” coming back to haunt them after the people have grown up. They is directed by Robert Harmon (The Hitcher) and stars Laura Regan, Marc Blucas, Ethan Embry, Dagmara Dominczyk, and Jon Abrahams. Despite being in the title, Wes Craven doesn’t actually have anything to do with the film.

They manages to be appropriately frightening most of the time. It nails the gloomy and downtrodden atmosphere necessary for a thriller to work. When is the last time you heard of an upbeat thriller? The film contains the necessary elements for the aforementioned atmosphere with lighting (or lack thereof since the film is bathed in darkness ninety percent of the time) and stylish cinematography. Director Harmon is also able to get surprisingly solid thrills out of the simple fear of the dark without resorting to fake jolt tactics too often. The script is tightly constructed for the most part and contains some humor to lighten the mood at times. The use of music is spare but effective when used to help create a feeling of dread. The film is paced well enough so that scares aren’t ever too far away. The film smartly shies away from showing the monsters of the title because one’s imagination is likely scarier than what a studio could dream up and the unknown is always more frightening than what is known. The ending of the film is also commendable in that it is a risky choice given the finicky reaction of the general public to film.

The film isn’t entirely successful however. The script is solid on most everything but the characters aren’t as fleshed-out as they could have been. It would have been nice to know more about their families and their childhood experiences with night terrors. The sub par acting by most of the cast doesn’t help any. Lead Laura Regan, in her debut, overacts much of the time; too much to be wholly effective despite some moments where she shines. As her boyfriend, Marc Blucas doesn’t leave much of an impression as his character is underwritten to the point of almost being nonexistent. Ethan Embry once again is superb in his role as a friend of lead Regan who also suffered from night terrors. He injects some humor and fun into his role but is hampered by the underdevelopment of his character. Dagmara Dominczyk, like Blucas, doesn’t make much of an impression and comes across as bland. Abrahams is appropriately effective in the limited screen time he is given.

Overall, They is a recommended thriller because of the solid directorial style of Harmon and a surprise ending worth commending.
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

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