They (2002 film)

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They
They2002poster.jpg
Theatrical Release Poster.
Directed byRobert Harmon
Produced byTed Field
Tom Engelman
Written byBrendan Hood
StarringLaura Regan
Marc Blucas
Ethan Embry
Dagmara Dominczyk
Jay Brazeau
Alexander Gould
Music byElia Cmiral
CinematographyRene Ohashi
Production
company
Distributed byDimension Films
Release dates
  • November 27, 2002 (2002-11-27) (U.S.)
Running time89 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$17 million
Box office$16,130,385
 
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They
They2002poster.jpg
Theatrical Release Poster.
Directed byRobert Harmon
Produced byTed Field
Tom Engelman
Written byBrendan Hood
StarringLaura Regan
Marc Blucas
Ethan Embry
Dagmara Dominczyk
Jay Brazeau
Alexander Gould
Music byElia Cmiral
CinematographyRene Ohashi
Production
company
Distributed byDimension Films
Release dates
  • November 27, 2002 (2002-11-27) (U.S.)
Running time89 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$17 million
Box office$16,130,385

They (also known as Wes Craven Presents: They) is a 2002 American supernatural horror thriller film directed by Robert Harmon. The plot centers on a group of four adults named Julia Lund, Sam Burnside, Terry Alba, and Billy Parks and their experience with the phenomenon of night terrors and the impact they had on their lives as children and how they come back to haunt them as adults.

The film was produced by Ted Field, Tom Engleman, and Wes Craven who served as executive producer. The film stars Laura Regan, Ethan Embry, Dagmara Dominczyk, Jay Brazeau, and Marc Blucas. The title is a reference to the fact that the creatures are only referred to as "They" as their origins are ambiguous. The film was a Box Office Bomb and had lukewarm reviews from critics.

Plot[edit]

In 1983 a young boy named Billy Parks (Alexander Gould) is frightened and has difficulty falling asleep after waking up from a nightmare. His mother Mary Parks (Desiree Zurowski) comes in to comfort him and assures him the monster he thinks is in the closet is imaginary. As he tries to fall asleep again he sees a dark apparition in his closet staring at him and pulls the covers on top of himself and turns on a flashlight. As he peeks outside the covers he is captured and spirited away by the mysterious apparition.

In present day 2002 the plot focuses on the story of a Psychology grad student named Julia Lund (Laura Regan) and the events that turned her life upside down. As a child she experienced horrifying night terrors that manifested after witnessing her father commit suicide, but has seemingly overcome the problem. She reunites with a childhood friend, a now a grown up Billy (Jon Abrahams). In the diner Billy is constantly startled by the flickering lights as he is now deathly afraid of the dark. He tells her that he believes their night terrors are caused by something otherworldly as he was kidnapped by mysterious creatures as a child and went missing for two days. He warns her to stay out of the dark, before suddenly committing suicide.

Julia stays over at her paramedic boyfriend Paul Loomis' (Marc Blucas) apartment for comfort and to grieve. As Julia is sleeping she is awakened by the ringing of Paul's phone and answers, but with no response. Julia then hears the shower running and investigates but finds no one inside. A mysterious black fluid then erupts from the sink drain and frightens Julia who then opens the bathroom mirror shelf to find an alternate dimension inside with mysterious creatures. Out of curiosity she sticks her hand in only to yank it out coated with the same black matter from the drain which starts to violently break her fingers, she closes the shelf only to encounter a reflection of one of the creatures in the mirror. Paul hears her screams and comes to check on her only for Julia to viciously assault him until she realizes it is him. Puzzled, Paul brings up the possibility that she might have been sleepwalking since she does not appear to remember what happened.

At his funeral, Julia consoles Billy's parents Mary and David Parks (Peter LaCroix) and meets up with two of Billy's friends and roommates Terry Alba (Dagmara Dominczyk), and Sam Burnside (Ethan Embry) who slowly begin to believe his claims as they also experienced night terrors as children and suspect they are returning. Offended by Sam's careless comment Julia walks away and visits Billy's childhood room and discovers his drawer filled with Energizer and Duracell batteries. Terry then shows up and apologizes for Sam's insensitivity and informs her that Billy used to talk a lot about Julia to her and Sam and about his experiences with the return of his night terrors and why he was obsessed with staying out of the dark hence the drawer filled with batteries.

As Julia is driving in the middle of nowhere her radio starts to malfunction and an unknown creature sprints across the windshield as the car mysteriously stops. As she is attempting to fix the problem she notices a mysterious creature in the nearby lake. Nervous, she manages to fix the car issue and as she is attempting to start the car she is startled by a vision of Billy and stumbles onto the road only to nearly get hit by an oncoming truck. Julia visits Paul's apartment for comfort only to discover him drunk with his friends Troy (Mark Hildreth) and Darren (Jonathan Cherry). Disgusted, Julia leaves his apartment instantly.

At Terry and Sam's apartment the remaining trio study Billy's diary to learn of his experiences. Terry and Sam then ask Julia if she has experienced any return of the night terrors to which Julia denies. Terry then realizes that Julia doesn't seem to remember the sheer terror she felt as a child and explains the origin of her night terrors which started when she was 5 years old, after witnessing her sister drown in a lake where her family would spend their summers. In one instance, she woke up screaming and her parents comforted her and put her back to sleep. Her mother checked on her a few hours later and she was gone. After searching throughout the entire house her father found her in the dog house, and as he reached in to grab her she stabbed him in the eye with a kitchen knife as she was convinced he wasn't her father and that he was some kind of demon.

Julia is at first skeptical but slowly starts to believe in her friends stories after meeting a little girl named Sarah (Jodelle Micah Ferland), one of Dr. Booth's (Jay Brazeau) patients, who also suffers from night terrors which started after her mother's untimely death. Sarah claims "They" are going to get her and eat her in her horrible nightmares and the only thing that keeps them away is lights. She then starts picking at a strange mark on her arm, a similar mark that also appeared on Billy's hand, Sam's shoulder, and Terry's ankle.

Julia finally believes in the stories as her night terrors return and she begins to doubt her perception of the world around her. It turns out her mental illness is caused by creatures only she can see who are attempting to consume her. At a bathroom in a Chinese restaurant she discovers the mark left by "They" on her forehead and slowly pulls out a black needle from the mark and she starts to panic. She runs to her boyfriend Paul Loomis' apartment out of fear. Paul, now completely convinced that Julia is insane, drugs a drink with a sleeping pill and gives it to her. Paul tells her that everything will be okay and she will soon fall asleep, and he attempts to call her psychiatrist Dr. Booth. Realizing he drugged her and knowing she can't risk falling asleep she escapes his apartment and runs to the subway station to vomit the sleeping pill on the tracks, only to get trapped in the station as the closing gates lock her in.

Being trapped she is forced to ride a train home, and she notices she is the only passenger on the train, making her uneasy. The train's lights start to flicker and the vehicle stops completely. She gets off and sees all the light bulbs burst in the train tunnel, then the train automatically starts and abandons her as the creatures assault her. Julia is continuously attacked by the creatures at the sign of darkness in the tunnel but manages to escape. She is finally discovered by a group of engineers who attempt to help her only for Julia to violently assault them with shards of glass, being convinced they are not human.

She is hospitalized at a mental institution by Dr. Booth and her boyfriend Paul Loomis where she is attacked once more and transported into the separate dimension she previously saw, only this time inside of a closet. Here she screams for help towards Dr. Booth and an orderly, both of whom cannot see her. The closet door is shut by Dr. Booth and the creatures proceed to attack her.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Production began on April 23, 2001 until July 1, 2001. Principal photography and filming was mostly held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and in the cities West Minister, Burnaby, and Delta. Despite the film location the movie's plot is set in New York.

Release[edit]

They received its theatrical premiere in the UK on November 1, 2002. The film received its U.S. premiere on November 27, 2002. The film was not released theatrically in New Zealand, Finland, Bulgaria, or Hungary; it was released direct-to-video in each of those countries.

Home Media[edit]

The film was released on VHS and DVD on June 10, 2003. The film received its Blu-ray release on September 11, 2012 in a double feature with another Wes Craven film Cursed.

Deleted scenes[edit]

There were scenes that were filmed but excluded from the final cut, the first two are available on the Japanese DVD which include:

These deleted scenes were all included in the Blu-ray release of the film.

Alternate Endings[edit]

Two alternate endings were shot but neither of them made it to the final cut, they include:

Alternate Opening[edit]

An alternate opening shown to test audiences featured a flashback of young Julia sleeping instead of a flashback of Billy. This opening was scrapped for some reason and is unavailable on any DVD.

Alternate script[edit]

The original script dealt with five recent college graduates named Julia Levin, Terry Alba, Sam Burnside, and Billy Parks who discover that earth is actually run by a race of organic machines that allow the human race to live so that they kill them and harvest their corpses for "spare parts" as their own bodies break down and deteriorate. Shortly thereafter the machines begin to eliminate the students not only killing them but using their influence and abilities to erase the memories of their family and friends making it seem like they never existed.

This draft was written by Brendan Hood and had no affiliation with the new draft despite being credited as screenwriter, everything was written out by the producers whom also hired ten new screenwriters to work on the new script. Out of all the ten screenwriters only one of them is listed in the credits.

Reception[edit]

Box Office[edit]

In its opening weekend They grossed about $5,144,090. The film grossed $12,840,842 domestically and $3,289,543 overseas making for a total worldwide gross of $16,130,385 therefore being a box office failure.

Critical reception[edit]

They received mixed to negative reviews currently holding a rotten 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the site's consensus stating "They fails to sustain the level of creepiness necessary to rise above other movies in the horror genre". Metacritic which assigns a rating of 0 to 100 gave They a 31 based on 16 reviews indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]