Friday, April 22, 2016

They Look Like People

   They Look Like People was recommended to me by a friend, who's usually reliable as far as recommending things goes. This was no exception. I never saw a trailer, a poster, nada. Just the recommendation from him, and I was set. He told me it was about a guy who thinks people are turning evil. Plus, that friggin title. That's a great title. They Look Like People? Movie titles don't get much better than that. So I knew all I felt I needed to know before watching the movie. As far as my end of this- reviewing it, I have the harder task here.

   They Look Like People, as great of a title as it is, is really long. I'm abbreviating that shit from here on out. So... TLLP. is a micro-budget mystery-suspense-drama. In my opinion it's a really effective one. As I said, it's about a guy who thinks people are turning evil. There's a whole big elaborate thing going on according to him. Like, Body Snatchers big. Anyways, he gets the idea to go find his best friend who he hasn't been in touch with in a while apparently, and try to somehow protect him from the impending shit storm. It's kinda hard to prepare for the apocalypse without people looking at you sideways.

   Nevertheless, he meets his friend, who insists he crashes at his apartment for a few days and they could have fun like old times. Our main character accepts and decides to stay, in the hopes he can eventually tell his friend what's really going on. I've gotta give TLLP props for being neutral in how they present this dilemma. The big mystery question is whether or not the main character is imagining everything, or if he's not. Watching the movie, I had moments where I was a hundred percent sure he wasn't crazy... and then moments where I was sure he was. The movie could've picked one or the other- and stuck to it completely, but that's two very different movies.

   A movie where the guy is crazy would've been a drama about his friend helping find normalcy and bringing him back to reality. The other movie is an understated creep-out flick about a mysterious alien (?) invasion. They Look Like People somehow mashes both of those movies into one and keeps you guessing until the absolute last ten seconds. That takes a lot of skill to build up the suspense and tension like that. The movie is scary either way, and I'm not saying which is real or not- but if the guy is crazy... he's a danger to himself and everyone else too. If he's not crazy, we could be looking at the extinction of mankind.

   Both possibilities are horrifying in their own right, and people who dislike the movie probably aren't ready to accept that. One person in particular went in expecting the movie to be one way, and it wasn't, and they were furious. You know how people say that the journey is the point and not the destination, or something? Same thing here. It honestly doesn't matter if the guy is crazy or not, because it's scary either way. It's like in movies where someone kills a vampire, but maybe it's not a vampire and it's just a real person. On one hand, holy shit vampires exist- on the other, oh my god- he just murdered an innocent person. See? That concept behind dilemma is at the core of TLLP.

   Of course most of the movie is content to let that concept quietly build up in the background- as a thread running through the whole film, while we see the relationship between the leads grow. There's a pleasant familiarity to seeing these two friends reconnect and it makes their situation very relatable- at least until the main character starts preparing for the actual apocalypse. Which is where the suspense and conflict of the movie comes from. Using almost no special effects, the movie sells you on this frightening Body Snatchers point of view using an inventive and unnerving sound effect scheme. Combined with a handful of terrifying visuals, solid characters, good acting, and a great premise, They Look Like People is one worth looking out for.

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