They Look Like People is a film I’d been meaning to get around to for ages. The premise sounded pretty good, especially partnered with the title of the film. It’s the feature film debut of director Perry Blackshear, and this blows me away. I’m always impressed when a debut film impresses me, but the skill in which this movie is handled would have never hinted to me that it was a debut feature.
The film revolves around a man named Wyatt who believes that humanity is under siege by demons. They take on human form and are undetectable by ordinary people. Wyatt is no ordinary man though. He’s been chosen as one who can detect these demons and is contacted via telephone by a masked voice with instructions. These instructions include preparations for a battle for humanity that is soon to take place. Ominous, right? Wyatt can hear the buzzing of flies and notices odd facial characteristics as he gets near one of these demons. Most people he meets are suspected and this has led him to become withdrawn and practically homeless. He runs into an old childhood friend and takes a risk that he can find solace and trust.
They Look Like People isn’t a jump out and scare you film or a cringeworthy gorefest. It’s a psychological slow burn that makes you stop and think. Until the last frame you aren’t really sure if this is a real thing or if the protagonist is slowly going crazy. That’s what makes this film so great. Either way it ends is horrifying. It does a very good job of pulling you into the events of the film and investing you into the plight. By the end of the movie you are literally gasping to see what happens.
The movie was a big hit on the independent film festival circuits. It won tons of Grand Jury awards, Most Innovative Feature Film, Best Narrative, and so on. In other words, it was very well received. It currently sports an 89% Fresh Rating as well, which is rare for horror (unfortunately). I recommend this one highly. It’s a brilliantly paced, well thought out, and truly chilling film that will be sticking with me for quite a while. If Take Shelter met Frailty and had a baby, They Look Like People would be their child, and that’s a big compliment.