Allegedly Presents: They
, but not really.
(2002) is a horror movie often thought
to have been written, directed, or produced by Wes Craven
—who was, in fact, not involved with this movie at all except as a "presenter". It was actually directed by Robert Harmon, a man probably best known for having directed the original version of The Hitcher
, and written by upwards of ten different uncredited screenwriters
Julia Lund is a promising young graduate student, majoring in psychology and nearing graduation, with plans to soon enter the professional world. During a date with her boyfriend, she's disrupted by Billy, a childhood friend who is haunted by a troubled but undescribed past
. When she meets him at a diner, he hides a strange mark on his hand and rants that they
are coming to get him, describing them only by the effect they have on children and electricity. After coming to terms with the fact that Julia cannot help him, he produces a gun and commits suicide in front of her.
Soon after, Julia starts experiencing what she assumes are night terrors, something she used to suffer from as a child. At Billy's wake, she meets two of his friends, Sam and Terry, who also used to suffer from night terrors. As her weird experiences intensify, she starts working with Sam and Terry in an effort to discover what they
really are—before it's too late.
This film provides examples of:
- A Minor Kidroduction: The film starts with a short scene involving the Billy as a child. The point is to show us that the monster in his closet is all too real.
- Air-Vent Passageway: Terry goes into the air vent at their apartment in search of a pest.
- Apocalyptic Log: Billy's diary, leading up to his suicide.
- Coincidental Broadcast: Julia comes home and turns on the TV to hear an already established story about rolling blackouts in the city. She's just recently learned that the only thing that can keep her safe is the light. Doubles as a Meaningful Background Event in that there are flashes of power going out periodically outside of the news broadcasts.
- Covers Always Lie: The movie poster and DVD cover title the movie Wes Craven Presents: They. Typically a presenter is an executive producer, but Craven is not credited as such. It would appear that Wes Craven had nothing to do with the actual creation of this film.
- Darkness Equals Death: How "they" can get you.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sam.
- Downer Ending: Yep, They take Julia, screaming, into their dimension and the movie just ends.
- Eldritch Location: They live in a dark dimension of shadows and black ooze. As the final scene shows, it's also just out of phase with our reality, leaving Julia screaming at baffled doctors she can see while they're pondering her disappearance while standing in front of a closet with nothing inside of it.
- Elevator Action Sequence: Sam takes the elevator in a final attempt to evade the monsters coming for him. They get him anyway.
- Final Girl: Julia
- Living Shadow: The things stalking Julia.
- Looks Like Orlok: What few glimpses we get suggest that "they" have heads like Orlok, and bodies that are even more distorted and bat-like.
- Marked to Die: All of the unfortunate victims have been given a strange mark on their skin, like a small sore. This sore contains a long, thin splinter. This is implied to be the means by which they are able to find their prey later; apparently it is implanted while the victims are still children, heals, then reappears when they are soon to be taken.
- Room Full of Crazy: Billy's room at home includes a number of newspaper clippings and a drawer full of batteries.
- As Sam's paintings get darker and darker, his apartment takes on this feel as well.
- Scare Chord: As Julia backs into a neighbor in the basement.
- Shower Scene: Terry takes a sensually filmed rinse before getting in the pool.
- Screaming Woman: Oh, good Lord. You just want them to take Julia already.
- Starts with a Suicide: Billy's death is the initial driving force of the plot.
- There Are No Therapists: Averted. Not only does Julia decide to see a psychiatrist when she starts having trouble, she's training to be one herself.
- Things That Go Bump in the Night: The creatures referred to as "they" are shown entering into the real world through closets and under beds, terrorizing children and marking them for later hunting.
- Too Dumb to Live: Julia leaves the relative safety of her boyfriend's apartment and runs underground to a subway. When she gets locked in the closing station, she heads into a train. When that stops, she gets out of the train into the dark tunnel.
- What Could Have Been: Originally, the premise was similar to The Matrix: Four college students discover that the world is being run by organic machines. The machines kill humans, harvesting their bodies to use as spare parts and erasing their existence. They lurk in the shadows and can be detected by children and animals. You can read the original script here. It's pretty creepy.