They Look Like People tells the mysterious tale of Wyatt, who begins getting strange, paranoia-inducing phone calls at night telling him of an impending disaster. This strains his relationship with his loyal friend Christian and with reality itself.
We follow Wyatt, aka the ultimate unreliable narrator, as he journeys through mysterious hallucinations and events that make us, the viewer, just as confused and surprised as he is. As Wyatt loses control of his sanity, we also begin to question what is real and what is just Wyatt’s delusion.
This is one of the scariest horror movies I’ve recently seen, not because of what happens, but what doesn’t. There is a strange type of tension that comes when a horror movie doesn’t follow format. When there is a clear setup, like a light suddenly going out or a character investigating a dark basement, and no payoff, i.e. a jump scare, you don’t trust anything anymore. When a movie disregards the narrative structure, it leaves the viewer on edge throughout the whole thing. Anything can be a potential scare and it can be completely at random. That’s almost scarier than the normal jump scares that mainstream horror flicks rely heavily upon. It creates a tense environment that leaves you on edge at all times, not just the few times that they set up for you.
As the narrative unfolds, you realize why the narrative doesn’t follow a format, and it really is a brilliant film choice. The movie does take a little while to fully realize its niche, but when it does it’s pretty powerful stuff. The narrative format effectively mirrors the actual horrors of mental illness that Wyatt is experiencing. Schizophrenia doesn’t make sense, and the scariest moments are the least expected ones. When someone is battling delusions, the line that distinguishes reality from fiction becomes more and more blurred until something snaps. The movie has the same narrative pattern. Light scares turn to more and more intense ones until the final scenes leave you bewildered and leave you thinking long afterwards.
I would probably say that this is one of those movies that isn’t for everyone. It’s creepy, but slow. It’s certainly not a traditional horror film, and I really thought it paid off. I was on edge the entire time, even muting my laptop a few times because I got too nervous. It borders on disorientating, fully immersing yourself into a deluded mind. I really liked it and thought it was a new take on how horror movies are structured. I love originality, and this film is one of the more original ones I’ve recently seen.
Amy’s Recommendation: 9/10