A film with a ton of wasted potential yet some quality moments that keep you engaged, They/Them puts a unique twist on the “isolated camp slasher” trope while delivering a strong message about valuing individuality.
Set at an LGBTQIA+ conversion camp, campers are soon subjected to increasingly unsettling “reprogramming” tactics while a larger threat looms, threatening all involved. They/Them is quite a mess, the actors the saving graces as the jumbled script bites off more than it can chew. Kevin Bacon is delightfully and increasingly vile while Theo Germaine is a worthy adversary on screen and as a young, talented transgender actor giving much needed visibility to the community. Anna Chlumsky and Cooper Koch are also great in their roles while Carrie Preston once again gets weird, awkward, and intense. I only wish they had more to work with, a script that was a little more fleshed out; there are scenes that seem out of place and jumps in logic that seem to indicate cut material.
The horrors of conversion camps are baked into each step, which is notable, but we simply don’t have enough time to spend with each of the strong characters to make a lasting impact. The growth and acceptance of even themselves is fast-tracked, Koch being a prime example as his character finds comfortability in his skin over the course of a 2-minute Pink rendition (which actually was adorable and brought me to tears). In the end, I wanted more… more character development, more scares, more of a swing that would make They/Them memorable in the pantheon of great slashers for quality and not just for being an LGBTQ+ story. Quality and representation do not have to work against one another.
They/Them is now streaming on Peacock.
Photo from CNN