Newest Reviews
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
We Need to Do Something
Bigfoot Hunters
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls Nite Out
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
East, The
Green Knight, The
Newest Articles
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
  They Dark Times
Year: 2002
Director: Robert Harmon
Stars: Laura Regan, Marc Blucas, Ethan Embry, Dagmara Dominczyk, Jon Abrahams, Alexander Gould, Desiree Zurowski, Mark Hildreth, Jonathan Cherry, Jay Brazeau, Peter LaCroix, Jessica Amlee, Jodelle Ferland
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Nineteen years ago, young Billy Parks suffered nightmares and this night was no different. He called for his mother who came into his bedroom to reassure him that the darkness was nothing to be scared of, and once she was sure her son had calmed down, she left, leaving the door slightly ajar and his nightlight on. But Billy was right - there was something there in the dark, something dangerous that shunned the light and did its best to exist in the gloom where it can capture the unwary. Now, the present day, Julia (Laura Regan), one of Billy's childhood friends, is a psychology student and after a night out with her boyfriend Paul (Marc Blucas) she receives a phone call from Billy which will be fateful for both of them.

They is a deliberately vague title for a horror film, isn't it? The filmmakers couldn't use Them as that had already been used for the giant ant movie, and It was the name of a famous Stephen King novel, so I guess They was the next best thing. Not being able to pin down the threat is integral to the film's chills as its monsters are resolutely kept in the dark both literally and figuratively, being only briefly glimpsed examples of CGI creature creations, but as the opening sequence makes clear, just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there. And we know that whatever is after the cast is there really.

When Julia breaks off an amorous encounter with Paul that night, she's making a mistake, but she isn't aware of it yet as she thinks she's going to provide comfort to her old friend. Yet what actually happens when she meets him in a cafe is that he rambles, then rants, about something coming to get him and abruptly produces a gun, blowing his brains out right there and then. Naturally Julia is traumatised by the incident, and this gives those around her the reason to excuse her increasingly strange behaviour afterwards. And when she suffers a horribly vivid nightmare that night, she's not so convinced that it was fantasy at all.

As it's not just Julia who can be terrorised, or else it would be an even shorter film than it is already, two more acquaintances of Billy are introduced to her at his funeral. They are Sam (Ethan Embry) and Terry (Dagmara Dominczyk), who seem to be suffering the same problems as the recently departed and wonder if Julia can help. Meanwhile, Julia has a close encounter with the mysterious entities herself while out driving at night in one of those set piece fright scenes that distinguish shockers of this era, and is left predictably unharmed but shaken. Not half as shaken as Sam and Terry, however, when they are captured.

The film has a limited palette to work with, but director Robert Harmon makes quite the atmospheric stew out of his ingredients, all muted colours and subdued acting. Compare They with the truly awful Darkness Falls which was released the year after to greater success, and you'll see a better way to handle this kind of "childhood terrors return" material here, even if it doesn't amount to much. Some of details are queasy, such as the small wound that appears on the skin of the victims to mark them out as prey, and those setpieces, including a Cat People homage, are functional but keep things moving along. And the film has the courage of its convictions, with no clich├ęd, demon vanquishing finale but a more despairing ending instead. Music by Elia Cmiral.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 4109 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: