Watch They/Them

  • TV-MA
  • 2022
  • 1 hr 44 min
  • 4.0  (11,331)
  • 46

They/Them is a 2022 horror-thriller that expertly navigates the sensitive topics of gender identity and sexual orientation, set against the atmospheric backdrop of a purportedly enlightened gay conversion camp. With seasoned actor Kevin Bacon at the helm as the camp's enigmatic and charismatic leader, the film weaves constant tension and an undercurrent of dread through its narrative, reflecting the real-life horrors faced by its LGBTQ+ characters.

The movie opens to the scenic, yet isolated, grounds of Whistler Camp, a conversion therapy center where LGBTQ+ youths are sent, ostensibly, to be "guided" towards traditional gender norms and heterosexual identities. Upon arrival, they are met with an array of therapies and counsellings, some veiled in deceptive benevolence, under the guidance of Owen Whistler (played by Kevin Bacon). Whistler is a man who carries an unsettling blend of friendliness and hidden agendas, promoting a path to "normalcy" that he assures will lead the campers to a better, more accepted version of themselves.

As the narrative unfolds, the audience is introduced to the diverse group of camp attendees, each with their individual stories and struggles with identity. Chief among them is Jordan (portrayed by Theo Germaine), a non-binary camper who exhibits resilience and skepticism from the very start. Through Jordan's eyes, viewers are led on a journey of quiet resistance and self-discovery, bringing into sharp focus the genuine challenges faced by young people exploring and affirming their gender and sexuality.

Theo Germaine's nuanced performance as Jordan brings a raw, magnetic energy to the screen, capturing the defiant spirit necessary to stand up to the oppressive atmosphere of the camp. Anna Chlumsky's role adds another layer to the narrative as a camp staff member with her own complex motivations and perspective, contributing to the pervasive ambiguity over who might genuinely be an ally within the camp's confines.

John Logan, serving as the film's writer and director, has infused the horror elements of They/Them with a unflinching representation of the psychological torment conversion therapy inflicts. The film treats its subject matter with the gravity it deserves, while still delivering the thrills and suspense of traditional horror. The pervasive sensation that not all is as it seems is complemented by the beautiful, yet eerie natural surroundings and an ominous score that underscores the sense of foreboding.

The movie artfully constructs its atmosphere through a blend of psychological unease and outright fear, using the secluded setting to its full advantage. The verdant but confined location helps compound the camper's vulnerabilities, as the vastness of the surrounding forest becomes a silent witness to the oppressive practices of Whistler and his staff.

They/Them is also a study of community and solidarity. As the campers come to terms with the chilling reality of their situation, They/Them illustrates the power of found family as the youths draw strength from one another. Shared experiences lead to bonds that contrast poignantly with the divisive tactics at play by the camp's administrators. This dichotomy between the camp's agenda and the campers' burgeoning camaraderie becomes one of the film's most compelling dynamics.

The tension ramps up throughout the movie as psychological manipulation takes a darker turn, moving into territory that draws parallels to the slasher genre. The threat of violence looms heavy, both in the subtext and overtly, as viewers find themselves uncertain who, or what, may become a danger to the characters they have grown to empathize with.

It is worth noting that the film does not shy away from the controversial and often politically charged discourse surrounding conversion therapy. Instead, They/Them tackles the topic head-on, although it does so within the framework of a genre film. Some critics and audiences have lauded the movie for confronting these real-world horrors through the lens of horror cinema, while others have questioned whether such serious social issues can be adequately explored in this context.

In conclusion, They/Them is a movie that not only provides the thrills expected of its genre but does so while handling salient topics with sensitivity and depth. The film is a haunting commentary on the often-fraught journey of self-acceptance, the voracity of institutional oppression, and the resilience of marginalized communities. Bolstered by standout performances, a potent script, and a tense, engaging story, They/Them stands as a unique entry into the horror genre, offering both a gripping narrative experience and a powerful statement on the sociopolitical landscape of the treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals.

They/Them is a 2022 horror movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 44 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 4.0 and a MetaScore of 46.

Where to Watch They/Them
They/Them is available to watch, stream, download and on demand at Peacock Premium. Some platforms allow you to rent They/Them for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 44 min
  • IMDB Rating
    4.0  (11,331)
  • Metascore