“LGBTQIA+ empowerment tale set at a gay conversion camp.”

Director: John Logan
Writers: John Logan
Staring: Kevin Bacon, Anna Chlumsky, Carrie Preston, Anna Lore, Cooper Koch, Theo Germaine, Quei Tann
Release Date: August 5, 2022
IMDB

About a month ago the first look at They/Them (2022) came out. The first trailer was just a bit of a teaser to a very familiar premise, and this official trailer shines a bit more of a light on the obvious Friday The 13th homage.

So Camp Crystal Lake?

The little bumper has the camp leader Owen Whistler (Kevin Bacon) reciting a line: “It’s a great, day to be alive. Isn’t it?” I have almost zero doubt that a victim in this movie is going to say this to Owen before Owen gets killed. There is no way he doesn’t die seeing how it is the ring-leader of the creepiness, so whomever ends up getting the final climatic bit of justified revenge is going to have a great chance for him to eat his own words.

Owen gives the speech about how he can’t make them straight but he is hoping his camp can help. The attendees look less than enthused to be there, and even more depressed when they have to give away their cell phones. Solid work by writer and director John Logan there to get the technology pitfall/trap out of the picture.

We hear a lot from the character Jordan (Theo Germaine), who identifies as They/Them. He makes the fantastic point that this conversion camp isn’t even a religious one with bible thumpers and God seekers. This uniqueness of attempted brainwashing at Whistler Camp is, well let’s call it uneasy.

Random not about midway through the movie with Jordan is in a therapy (brainwashing session). This room looks a lot more modern than the rest of the camp?

The rest of the They/Them trailer is filler. We get a second glimpse of the pie and the knife. We get a glimpse at the mask the killer is wearing. We get a a lot of screaming and some slashes of a knife. They/Them is going for the classic summer camp slasher killer vibe. Typically these types of movie had a decent floor, but the ceiling isn’t too high.

This is going to be a random thought, so stick with me. The last blatant Friday the 13th homage I remember seeing was Fear Street: Part Two – 1978 (2021). While it was my least favorite of the Fear Street movies, it still was incredibly watchable. The last thing before that was the American Horror Story: 1984 season on FX. That television show was not good. I did not enjoy my time.

They/Them doesn’t need to create a new Jason Voorhees. With such the niche area of LGBQT+, I doubt it will set itself up for a sequel. This seems like a one-off eyeball grabber. Kevin Bacon is back to the genre that he came up in, but this time it is with a twist. He can play bad guy well (I think of X-Men: First Class (2011)) so here is to hoping that the scares, kills and thrills meet the Mendoza line.

They/Them will have (a probably upset) viewer when it comes out on August 5th.


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