They Look Like People

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I didn’t know anything about Perry Blackshear going into this. I just saw this trailer and thought it had some pretty interesting elements. Upon looking up his previous works, it would appear that he’s known most for his editing work, but he’s pretty much a mixed bag in the film industry with credits to editing, cinematography, writing and directing, among others. In They Look Like People, he is both writer and director. My first impression on what to expect from this film was that it would be moody and subdued film making. I think that’s what he was going for, and he pretty much nailed it. I was confused, at times, trying to understand if some of his messages were intended to throw the viewer off center, to relay a sense of unbalance. I think that might be what he was aiming for, after all.

The film centers around friends, Wyatt (MacLeod Andrews) and Christian (Evan Dumouchel). One day, Wyatt shows up at his old school friend’s doorstep. There’s never any real explanation of his situation that landed him here, but I got the sense that something not so great had happened in Wyatt’s personal life... like he was on the run. Now, that may be because he is, in fact, running from something that may or may not be a schizophrenic delusion. You see, Wyatt has been receiving phone calls. From someone that disguises their voice to protect their identity. They see Wyatt as being exceptional, special. “One of the blessed.” He is warned that an all out war is coming. He’s warned not to trust anyone and to take steps to protect himself, because the invaders look just like people. From time to time, he is shown a glimpse of what these interlopers look like, but for the most part, everyone looks downright normal.

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During the film, one of the elements that got to me was the odd sense of disconnectedness in the dialogue. If any of you have played the Silent Hill games, you may understand what I’m talking about. It’s almost as if the people talking are speaking disjointedly, or in a tone that doesn’t jibe with the mood or setting. It was kind of unsettling, and at the same time, I liked it quite a lot.

Going back to the plot, I believe Wyatt was reaching out to his old friend to feel a sense of belonging in his world that, as he was being told, was about to end in a war between the “real” people and the evil “pod” people (for lack of a better term). Wyatt and Christian reconnect during the next few days. It’s fun to see the two of them acting like young boys and reliving their childhood games. There is a modicum of normalcy here, for a time. Wyatt and Christian even attempt to go on a double date that doesn’t go as planned, at all. But, during the course of this movie, I got the distinct feeling that Christian is no stranger to the possibility that his friend is ill. Also, I think Wyatt was fully aware, to a point, that these might be delusions and he might actually need professional help.

So, there you have it. They Look Like People was definitely a good watch, in my book. If you don’t like moody or a slow burn, this probably isn’t for you. Have a watch, let me know what you think, would you? Is Wyatt ill? Will Christian survive Wyatt’s assessment of his humanity? Will the world?

SPOILER ALERT!!! Please turn back now if you haven’t seen the film and you’re not a fan of spoilers. Below is a transcript of our (Cattleworks, mermaidheather and myself) convo regarding the film after we each watched and reviewed it. Hope you enjoy!

Dawn: Hola!

Heather :Howdy. Missing the Cattle guy are we?

Dawn: T’would appear

Heather: Cue the Jeopardy music

Dawn: Bwahahaha!! And, it actually started playing in my head

Heather: lol

Dawn: Terry, knock twice if you are in danger...

Heather: While we are waiting, I enjoyed your reviews.

Dawn: I liked yours!! We thought a lot of the same things throughout, I think.

Heather: Did you read Vale’s comment yet?

Dawn: Oh really , when did she comment?

Heather: A few hours ago

Dawn: I’ll hafta take a look!...Oh cool! Just read it! I don’t think I knew that she was into writing, but that’s awesome!

Heather: Me either. Surprise me with the script idea. I was also surprised Terry didn’t write a mile long review again lol.

Dawn: Hahahha!! Yeah, I was feeling a little sheepish once I was done with mine... I felt like I was done talking about it. But I guess comparatively, it’s not TOO short.

Heather: It was fine. I liked that you talked a bit more about what you liked and didn’t like about the film.

Dawn: Did you get the same feeling that I did about the surreal quality of the dialogue? Like, they were kinda disconnected or dream-like? Some might see it as bad acting, but I thought that the feel was calculated.

Heather: Yes, I will wait for Terry before giving my full answer

Dawn: Cool beans

Heather: The times I got comments from directors, they have always thanked me for saying what worked and didn’t work for me. I think so many people just say a movie sucked without explaining why.

Dawn: Oh yeah, I get that. Man, that would be so awesome to get a comment from someone connected to the film!!

Heather: About that: If you want to review Ghost House, I can bring it to the attention of one of the actors in it.

Dawn: Ooh! Ooh ohh OOH!!!

Heather: He shared my review on his page. Thought that was pretty nice of him.

Dawn: Man, how cool!!

Heather: You can find it on Netflix

Terry: OMG, I am SO sorry! I just got home!

Dawn: Lol Hi there!

Heather: No worries Terry. Are we set to start?

Dawn: Yep!

Terry: Thank you so much for waiting, he said sheepishly.

Heather: First thing first. I have to know if all of you are who you say you are.

Dawn: Hmmm... maybe...maybe not...MwahaHhaha!!

Terry: You can’t see me or my eyeballs, right? Then yes. he said smiling....

Heather: I have some acid here in case anyone is lying.

Dawn: And we know what that does to a steak...

Terry: Yeah, that was kind of a funny scene.

Dawn: I wonder how he came to the conclusion to use such an expensive cut of meat...?

It looked like a porterhouse

Heather: “Acid can hurt them” Yeah, you think? Them and everyone else for that matter.

Dawn: Lol!! Yuuuuup!!

Terry: If you’re going to throw acid on meat, own it! Do it up! Also, a nice steak adds production values visually.

Dawn: Look at our budget... we spared NO expense!

Terry: ...As long as we don’t do anything that we can’t afford!

Dawn: Hahaha! So, did you two get the feeling that Christian was no stranger to the idea that Wyatt may have issues?

Heather: I wasn’t sure for a while. I thought that Blackshear did a good job of not telling us until the end. It would have spoiled things more if he had.

Dawn: Yeah, what I perceived as Christian knowing beforehand was pretty subtle.

“I saw you one the phone this morning” I think it was like 2-3am...

Terry: You know, I saw you mention that in your review, and I didn’t think that, but that’s a good point. In the same way that Christian had a reputation for being weak in the past and Wyatt sort of throws that in his face at one point, maybe Christian did sense something in Wyatt, too. I attributed his awareness that Wyatt might have some issues to his phone calls he saw at 4:00 in the morning.

Terry: Yeah.

Dawn: Exactly...

Terry: But, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to watch the movie again.

Dawn: And his embracing basically the hoops he needed to jump through for Wyatt they’re at the end.

Heather: About the phone calls, did anyone notice what I noticed about them?

Dawn: That the phone wasn’t on?

Terry: I guess no, and really?

Dawn: No backlight, right, like you’d see on a phone call

Heather: Never had a ring tone, never did light up.

Dawn: Yeah... kinda gave me chills

Terry: Well, that was the one convenient aspect of this that they avoided checking that I alluded to in my review.

Dawn: Mmhhmm, I agree.

Terry: If Christian had a suspicion and he asked to look at Wyatt’s call history, different movie either way. But, I didn’t notice that about the phone.

Dawn: And he’s coming from out of town... he tells Christian that he’s got stupid errands to run.

Really? What errands?

Heather: I didn’t notice about the phone right away but he picks it up right after waking up so it made me wonder and I watched for it the next time.

Dawn: How about the dialogue delivery? What did you think?

Terry: Well, there was this whole caginess of Wyatt not saying anything about where he’s staying, because he wasn’t staying anywhere, but he didn’t want to infringe on Christian and Christian sensing that. Those errands could be lumped into all that caginess from Christian’s POV. I didn’t get that about the dialogue, but I’m anxious to rewatch it now to check that out.

Dawn: Ah, yes I can see that now, good point. It totally felt like the Silent Hill games to me... very surreal and disconnected. Dream-like.

Heather: I did some... made me wonder how much they knew about each other that wasn’t being said at times.

Terry: Unfortunately, I’m a total video game, well, not virgin, but maybe I got to first base... and at an arcade in the 80s.

Dawn: Totally! At first, I thought it was some bad blood or history between the two, but nothing like that is ever revealed. Hahaha, Terry!

Terry: So, that Silent Hill reference is over my head.

Heather: Especially at the end, I think it was clear that Wyatt’s problem is something they have worked through before.

Dawn: Too bad... maybe I’ll send you a clip to show ya what I’m talking about.

Terry: Oh, I don’t think it’s bad blood. i think it’s one of those things where you move and move on with your life and lose day to day connections.

Dawn: Because Christian fell in line with what Wyatt needed, Heather? He basically did what Wyatt needed, no questions asked. There’s definitely a bond there.

Heather: That and the song. I think there was something important about the song. Maybe it was something they sang as kids and he hoped it would remind Wyatt that he is real.

Terry: Well, that may be true, but I think Christian getting fired and that devastating note his colleagues left totally shook him up.

Dawn: Oh my gosh, right?! From: EVERYONE.That was some grade school ****, right there!

Terry: I think from a plot point of view that development with Christian was significant for the final scene. Suddenly, everything he’s been building his newfound confidence with has been upended. So, the best he could do was try to be the best friend he could be for a friend who was definitely in trouble.

Dawn: Oh yeah, and you knew throughout the movie that this underdog role he’s carried from childhood was one he was desperately trying to shed...

Terry: Yeah, seriously.

Dawn: Dudes

Heather: Would you trust someone that much though?

Dawn: Did he kill Mara? No, I honestly think I couldn’t trust someone that much.

Terry: That was the other unanswered question. Do you believe that Wyatt didn’t do anything to Mara, just ran away knowing she was one of them? That’s what he says, more or less to Christian.

Dawn: At least, I could see that Christian was terrified, if not low key terrified.

Terry: Hahaha, I don’t know the answer to that question.

Heather: Mara is a tough girl. I think it would have been hard for Wyatt to get the drop on her.

Dawn: But the scene ended with her abruptly, and then we are led to believe he’s taken her car...

Terry: I think it helped him take that risk because he suddenly had no one else himself.

If Wyatt had killed Mara, well, that would f*ck up the feel good ending, hahaha!

Dawn: Oh god, yeah...

Terry: But seriously, did he have any weapons? And she knows judo.

Heather: Wyatt did seem nervous when hearing sirens in the distance.

Terry: Him having the car, I think, is merely a red herring.

Dawn:Lol, yeah she definitely could throw a punch. Could totally be, Terry

Heather: One has to wonder about what happened with the woman in his bed at the start as well.

Dawn: Oh my god, I FORGOT ALL ABOUT THAT!!!

Terry: His fiancée?

Dawn: His only explanation about that was “yeah, there’s no wedding”

Terry: Because of the way he is with his preparations, earnest but inexperienced, I think they broke up. Either he got weird and she couldn’t take it, or he ran out on her.

Dawn: There’s definitely a sense of foreboding there with that scene in the beginning with the woman...

Terry: Yeah, that was nice. Very subtle, but definitely, “Wait a minute, WTF??”

Dawn: And to see it basically replayed with Christian later... you have to wonder if she went through the same scrutiny as Christian... did she pass the test?

Heather: I don’t think he killed her. The voice from the “phone” was trying to prepare him to take a friend’s life if need be.

Dawn: His fiancée or Mara?

Terry: Oh, that’s an interesting thought. But i don’t think he was at that point yet when he first meets Christian.

Heather: The formal.

Dawn: True, he was still playing with the idea that he was mentally unbalanced.

Terry: Whether he articulated anything to his fiancée or not first, I don’t know, but I think he mostly ran, and once he got to Christian’s place, then he started preparing himself to actually get physical.

Heather: Something may have happened with Mara, though we will never know probably, but not to the point where he killed her I don’t think.

Dawn: I agree, Heather, even just based on his reaction when she hit him. It was the perfect time for him to pounce, yet he didn’t.

Terry: Well, he was still trying to make amends to mara when she punched him. He hadn’t seen her do her impersonation of a slot machine.

Dawn: Bwahahaha!! Now, I’m gonna see her eyes rolling cherries and “DING DING DING” for all time!

Heather: That was CGI done right even if it was small.

Dawn: So true, agreed!!

Terry: Yes, the effects that were done were limited in scope, but very effective.

Dawn: Totally agree!

Terry: Yeah, it was tough trying to recommend the movie without giving away too much. i can see different reactions based on what kind of film fan you are.

Heather: In all honesty, did you think Wyatt would kill his friend when Christian started changing?

Dawn: I really didn’t know!! That was TENSE!

Terry: It was one way or the other. Yeah, the tension was great!

Heather: Knowing it was his mind by that point, I didn’t know what he would do but I was hoping he wouldn’t do it.

Dawn: Yeah, I just kept thinkin “but you PLAYED BLOBBIES!


@Heather Santrous If Wyatt had killed Christian, would that have changed your rating any?

Playing Blobbies is the new litmus test!

Heather: No. It wasn’t that I was looking for a happy ending really. Just if I was in his shoes, it would be hard to know I killed my friend for believing in something that wasn’t real.

Terry: In the remake of THE THING, Kurt Russell would challenge all the guys at the base to Blobbies to see if they were still human.

Dawn: I think that would have been a harder hitting ending, but I’d still have liked it. And the possibility that Wyatt would have had no remorse...Even more chilling

Terry: I’m just wondering.

Dawn: Lololol, Terry! Looks like we are winding down. Or are you feeling me out?

Heather: Never!

Dawn: Am I a pod person?

Terry: I felt that if Wyatt killed Christian, it might make for a more satisying ending emotionally, especially from a horror fan perspective.

Dawn: Yeah, it would have given that truly disturbing ending...

Heather: I don’t know. Not every horror movie needs an unhappy ending.

Dawn: Curious to see if they played around with alternate endings?

Terry: But I think the better ending is Wyatt not killing Christian, but not as immediately satisfying. It would have been more philosophically satisfying.That’d be interesting. I’d be surprised though if there were.

Heather: If Wyatt had killed his friend, it might answer the Mara question.

Dawn: True that!!

Heather: Was it just me about the editing? I don’t think either of you mentioned it much.

Dawn: About abrupt scene ends?

Terry: Alternate ending: Wyatt kills Christian, takes off the hood and to his horror, Christian’s normal looking. Wyatt stares at what he’s done, and the phone rings. The mysterious voice says, “sometimes you have to break some eggs... ready for battle?” and then Wyatt heads out with his back pack full of weapons into the city...

Terry: What about the editing again?

Heather: What Dawn said. Like when in the silence room. Mara starts to say something and then suddenly it is a new scene.

Dawn: Yeah, that IS a bit odd, but I think it kinda plays into the whole feel of the film.

Terry: I didn’t pick up on that. I’ll have to check that out when i re-watch it.

Dawn: Update your review when you do? I think I’m gonna have mother look, too.

Oh jeez

Another* look.

Terry: Cut the apron strings, Dawn!

Dawn: Oh god that gave me a laugh.

Heather: It made me wonder, but I didn’t want to say so in the review, that maybe Blackshear was giving a look into Wyatt’s mind in that way.

Terry:That’s a good point. Sh*t, I really have to re-watch this now!

Dawn: Well, guys I’m gonna head to the store...Bonfire tonight

Heather: The sudden shift in gears.

Dawn: That would definitely play towards the mental issues...

Terry: Wow, bonfire! You guys know how to start a work week!

Heather: No, you are staying right here...remember, I have acid and I’m not afraid to use it.

Dawn: Bwahahahaha!!! ****!

Terry: And we have three hours on you, too!

Heather: Have a fun time Dawn

Dawn: Lol, yep! The weather here today is so nice! I wanna spend some time outside. Finally, my time of year!

Terry: Marshmallows? Hot dogs? Definitely bring food of some kind!

Dawn: S’mores, beer and a good book! Heaven…

Heather: Have time to set a date and all for next time?

Dawn: Oh yeah, for sure Heather

Terry: Very nice! Have fun! And thanks for waiting for me!

Heather: 15th or 22nd?

Dawn: I like sooner. But either is fine. What’s your selection again?

Terry: If we’re talking on the Monday after, I’m busy Monday the 16th. Unless we want to do Tuesday the 17th

Dawn: Cool beans, that’s good for me. The 17th

Heather: around 4 is fine Dawn?

Terry: If chatting on Tuesday is okay, then doing the earlier date is fine with me.

Dawn: Tuesday, I won’t get off til 5, but I’m sure I could still talk anyway.

Heather: Should be fine, that fine with you Terry?

Terry: I don’t mind talking later if you want.

Heather: 8pm for us is fine?

Dawn: I’m good til around 10pm PST most nights

Heather: If neither of you has watched it yet, Trash Fire

Dawn: Ok, we’ll do your 8pm on the 17th

Terry: Well, Dawn gets off at 5. So, does it need to be 5:30 for her/8:30 EST?

Dawn: Sweet, I don’t think I’ve even looked that one up yet. Yep, that’ll do

Heather: 8:30? Okay, you twisted my arm

Dawn: Hahaha, awesome!

Terry: So, review on the 15th, chat on the 17th, 8:30 EST.

Dawn: I’m gonna get on Goat Witch and Baskin in the meantime. Sounds good!

Heather: Don’t forget Ghost House

Dawn: Yes, yes! Will do!

Terry: TRASH FIRE? That’s the film? WTHell. I haven’t even heard of it.

Dawn: Thanks again for letting me hang with you guys. I’ll see ya later!

Heather: Does that mean you haven’t watched it yet? Have a blast Dawn

Dawn: Not here, haven’t seen it

Terry: @Dawn DeaderIt was a blast! Have fun! No I haven’t. Sounds intriguing!

Heather: Don’t forget to post the chat Dawn, when you get the time.

Terry: Yeah, I wondered about that. Posting the chat is the hazing part of this club!

Heather: I told her about the acid beforehand if she didn’t post it

Terry: Cue whip noise! I’ll have to check BASKIN and GHOST HOUSE, too. Especially BASKIN.

Heather: If you review Ghost House, I will be happy to point it out to one of the actors.

Terry: Which one?

Heather: The one that is in it of course.

Terry: **** **** ****...Oh, you should check out that interview with Perry Blackshear, too. It’s interesting.

Heather: Russell Geoffrey Banks

Terry: Okay. Thanks.

Heather: He isn’t the lead but he was asking around for reviews.

Terry: That’s cool. Speaking of GOAT WITCH, I’m curious about the feature film that crew made beforehand.

Heather: What is it?

Terry: THE DEMON’S ROOK. I think the director is in it and also the lead actress from GOAT WITCH. As much as I liked GOAT WITCH, part of me thinks it was done as almost a calling card for the studios or film companies for the SFX/art crew.

Heather: How do you mean?

Terry: Well, the story is really kind of serviceable, i think, when it’s all done.. The real attraction is the effects and the details of the production: the make-up, etc.

Heather: It was a short that was shown at a convention I wanted to go to, but didn’t have the money for last year. Not with having to get a hotel room for three nights.The guy that runs it often makes a post if a film is released online or whatever, which is nice.

Terry: That’s cool. It’s neat seeing some of the films on-line or on netflix that I’ve seen at local festivals. Or I haven’t seen but know they have played here.

Heather: Speaking of those, I will be going to HorrorHound I think. I bought the ticket and reserved a room. Trying to figure out if I want to try renting a car or not since mine hasn’t been worked on yet.

Terry: Very cool! How fun!

Heather: I have a feeling I will spend it all in a screening room lol

HorrorHound Weekend Film Festival Schedule

We are excited to announce the schedule for our HorrorHound Weekend Film Festival (#H2F2) set to take place at HHW Cincinnati this March 23-25th. This will be our biggest Film Fest to date – with two stacked film rooms located at the connecting Hyatt hotel (which is connected to the

Terry: I just looked at the trailer for TRASH FIRE. It looks zany! WTF! Also, I know the guy who directed GREETINGS FROM TROMAVILLE! And RETURN TO NUKE’EM HIGH was filmed locally. In Niagara Falls.

Heather: With two screening rooms, I will have to make a choice as to which movie to miss

Terry: Aw, that sucks! That’s why I love BUFFALO DREAMS. Although, that’s why the festival runs 7 days to accommodate all the films, hahaha! It ran 10 days last year, but I think the founders’ wives threatened to kill them if they did that again.

Heather: First time they have had two screening rooms. I mean, I’m glad they are getting enough films to have more than one screening room, but I always wonder if the film(s) I’m missing are better than what I picked to watch.

Terry: That’s tough.

Heather: The one I have been in KY a couple of times, it has 4-5 screening rooms going.

Terry: And sometimes these films never get distribution. I’ve been wanting to see PIN UP GIRLS ON ICE again, but they’ve never got a distribution deal, at least not in N. America. i think they have a deal in Germany/Europe. Sorry, PINUP DOLLS ON ICE. It’s the sequel to BIKINI GIRLS ON ICE, and that’s available on DVD.

Heather: With that one I look over what is screening and the times and go “Okay, if I watch this one I can jump to this room to watch this film or wait in order to fit these two films in...”

Terry: Oh, sure. Plus you have to figure when to eat and how to get the food. These events are never relaxing, hahaha!

Heather: That is what I’m worried about this weekend, when to fit in something to eat lol. Well, next weekend actually. There is usually a movie I have already watched where I can leave for a couple of hours but that isn’t the case this time around.

Terry: You know, if the filmmakers are there, I wonder if you could negotiate a deal with them to get a copy of a DVD to review in case yuo can’t see it at the festival.

Heather: Friday isn’t a big deal, I can get something to eat on the way there. Sunday is just one screening it looks like. Saturday will be the challenge.

Terry: Can ya get snacks to eat in the screenings?

Heather: That is my Taco Bell day so maybe I can miss the shorts and eat quickly lol

Terry: Is Taco Bell your indulgence?

Heather: When I go to this one, I have ate at Taco Bell each Saturday and eat at TGI Friday’s before heading home Sunday, so why break tradition?

Terry: If it’s a good tradition, there’s no reason to break it! Alright, speaking of food, I think I’m gonna get some dinner, by god!

Heather: I eat at Taco Bell because it is usually quick and cheap lol

Terry: Plus FAST FOOD TACOS! I think this movie club things seems to be working okay so far! Thank you again for doing this!

Heather: No problem. I have been enjoying it. Especially the chats. It is nice to talk about the movie and not worry about spoiling it for someone.

Terry: Yes!

Heather: Have a good dinner

Terry: Thank you! You have a good rest of the night!

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.


  • ZOMBIEDAWN: I seriously went into writing this with the intent on making it longer... there’s always next time. Thank you MermaidHeather and Cattleworks for including me again, in your group reviews! I’m really enjoying it and I cannot wait to hear what you have to say about this movie!
  • mermaidheather: I try not to worry about length when doing a review anymore. I do think some of mine end up too short, but it usually ends up being that way because I didn’t have much to say or the film is just hard to talk about because it is easy to spoil it. I liked your review here and I’m looking forward to the chat about this movie.
  • Vale: Good review :) I want to see this movie, a few years ago, when I actually had free time, I started to write the plot for a movie about a person that was schizophrenic but didn’t realize it. Maybe this movie will give me some ideas and help me revive my old script :D
  • ZOMBIEDAWN: You should definitely pick that project up again!
  • Vale: One day :D

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