review by Bobby Blakey
Throughout his career Kevin Bacon has taken on every genre you can think of, but on of his big breaks came starring in the original Friday the 13th film in 1980. Since he has dived into numerous horror projects and his latest film They/Them is bringing him back once again. The film co-stars Carrie Preston, Theo Germaine, Anna Chlumsky, Austin Crute, Quei Tann, Anna Lore, Monique Kim, Cooper Koch and Darwin del Fabro with The Last Samurai, Rango, Skyfall, and Spectre writer John Logan stepping into the director’s chair. Can this flick bring the blood and message or will it fail to covert?
They/Them follows Whistler, a gay conversion camp that has been in operation by the same family going back generations. Currently the camp is operated by Owen Whistler and his wife, Dr. Cora Whistler. The Whistlers have a small staff of four: activities director Amy, her gay-conversion-camp-alumni-turned-athletics-director boyfriend Zane, groundskeeper Balthazar, and Molly--the camp counselor who uncovers the horrors of Whistler Camp at the bequest of camper Jordan. A fifth employee emerges as a decoy within the campers. Suddenly, employees are picked off in a murder streak by an unknown assailant.
This film offers up the vibe similar to every other camp slasher flick, but first and foremost it something so much bigger. Here is a film that is not only an entertaining entry into the genre, but an empowering film for the LGBTQ+ community. What I loved about how it is structured is that while it is fully empowering every sexuality and persuasion it never forces it down your throat. These characters are just who they are and the horrors of conversion therapy are real.
The first half of the film is just getting to know everyone and discovering who they are and their struggles. It could have played this way throughout and still been an interesting film just with this. It takes a while before we get
into any of the horrors of it all, but it is worth the wait when it shifts into full slasher mode. Once the killing starts it doesn’t let up right until the big twist that wasn’t overly hard to figure out, but works nonetheless. Leading up to it there are some other fun twists and turns that keeps you guessing making for a compelling and welcome entry into the slasher genre.
If you are too close minded to be able to deal with anything other than heterosexuality then you will struggle with this film as it touches on everything, but in a respectful way to empower people to be themselves all while giving us some fun on screen slashing.
Decide for yourself and check out They/Them streaming now exclusively on Peacock.