They Look Like People
They Look Like People is a 2015 independent psychological horror film that was shot, edited, written, produced, and directed by Perry Blackshear and marks his feature film directorial debut. It had its world premiere on January 25, 2015 at the Slamdance Film Festival where it won a special jury award. It stars MacLeod Andrews as a man who believes that humanity is being secretly taken over by evil creatures.
Close friends Wyatt and Christian reunite in New York City, where Christian invites Wyatt to stay at his apartment. Wyatt has withdrawn into himself, having recently broken up with his fiancee, while Christian, who lost his girlfriend, attempts to counter his insecurities with bodybuilding and aggressive machismo. As the two old friends bond, Christian invites Wyatt along on the date he has with his supervisor, Mara, calling ahead and asking Mara to invite her friend.
Wyatt and Christian arrive to find that Mara's friend Sandy has fallen and injured herself. Wyatt examines Sandy and recommends she go to the hospital. Wyatt, Christian, and Mara spend the evening in the waiting room until Sandy's release, and Mara gratefully thanks Christian for staying. As Christian walks Mara to the subway, he fails to take the initiative to kiss her goodnight. Wyatt reassures Christian that Mara is probably still interested in him despite the ending. After Christian falls asleep, Wyatt receives an anonymous phone call, where a muddled voice tells him he only has time to save himself, and he must leave the city and prepare for the demonic invasion.
Wyatt confers with a psychiatrist about his fears of psychosis, but cuts the session short when he becomes convinced the psychiatrist himself is possessed by demons.
Mara and Christian continue seeing each other. Wyatt receives subsequent phone calls, this time in Mara's voice, alerting him to ominous signs of the apocalypse and the nature of the demons, specifically how they infect humans. Wyatt stockpiles weapons in Christian's cellar and alternately contemplates both suicide and the murder of passersby he believes to be possessed.
With his newfound assertiveness, Christian believes himself to be in line for a raise, only for Mara to reveal that he has been fired. A note on his computer, signed by his coworkers, accuses him of being an asshole. Christian returns home to find Wyatt waiting for him. Before he can say anything, Mara visits. At first angry, Christian apologizes and invites her in. The three chat amicably, and Christian leaves to get a specific tea Mara wanted. Wyatt invites Mara to explore the house and takes her downstairs to show his weapon stash. Wyatt asks her for further information on the demonic invasion, alluding to her voice on the phone. When Mara realizes Wyatt's seriousness, she flees the house. Christian returns, disappointed that she left, and Wyatt becomes highly agitated and rants about the coming demonic invasion. Christian calms Wyatt down and sets him up with a psychiatrist, the same one Christian went to when he previously attempted suicide.
Wyatt accosts Mara, trying to apologize, and she lashes out in self-defense, injuring Wyatt. Out of remorse, Mara helps him clean up, but Wyatt becomes horrified as she transforms into a demon. Wyatt runs away and finds Christian preparing to join the army to conquer his insecurities. Wyatt instead convinces him to leave the city and prepare for the coming apocalypse. Christian agrees, as long as Wyatt attends his psychiatric appointment. As Wyatt sees omens of the apocalypse, he instead insists they barricade the basement. To show his trust in Wyatt, Christian allows himself to be bound and gagged in case he is possessed. On the hour of the apocalypse, Wyatt becomes convinced Christian is possessed and prepares to kill him as he watches Christian transform. At the last moment, Wyatt realizes he is hallucinating, and recognizing Christian as truly human, frees him. The two embrace, and Christian remarks that he has finally conquered his insecurities by facing death.
- MacLeod Andrews as Wyatt
- Evan Dumouchel as Christian
- Margaret Ying Drake as Mara
- Mick Casale as Psychiatrist
- Elena Greenlee as Sandy
Horror websites Fangoria and Dread Central both wrote positive reviews for the film; Dread Central's Ari Drew wrote that it was "a deliberately paced and subdued stunner of a film that succeeds above all in its genuine approach of concern and respect for its realistically horrifying subject matter." Film School Rejects praised the film for its treatment of mental illness, commenting, "It's rare to find a genre film that takes the time to explore the human behind the madness while still providing thrills". Screen Anarchy and SciFiNow also gave the film positive reviews, and both felt the actors and the director were highlights.
- Umstead, Ben (July 13, 2015). "Fantasia 2015 Exclusive: THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE Trailer Terrifies". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- "They Look Like People (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
- Hanley, Ken W. (October 6, 2015). ""THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE" (Mile High Horror Film Review)". Fangoria. Fangoria Entertainment. Archived from the original on November 13, 2017. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- Drew, Ari (November 17, 2015). "They Look Like People (2015)". Dread Central. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- Hunter, Rob (March 4, 2016). "They Look Like People (2015) Movie Review". Film School Rejects. Reject Media. Archived from the original on March 21, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
- Umstead, Ben (January 29, 2015). "Slamdance 2015 Review: THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE, DIY Terror At Its Very Best". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- Hatfull, Jonathan (September 13, 2015). "They Look Like People film review: a terrifying debut". SciFiNow. Retrieved December 16, 2015.