Low-budget indie cinema can be easily divided into two groups – one, where creativity astonishes and makes up for all the financial shortages and the second, which offers nothing more than wasted ideas. Surprisingly, They Look Like People manages to strike a fair balance between these two groups.
Perry Blackshear’s film tells the story of Wyatt – a troubled guy, who begins to believe that people around him are extraterrestrials in human bodies. As a coincidence, he meets his old-times best friend and quickly spreads the insanity onto him, claiming that together they have to fight the invasion back.
They Look Like People meanders among a variety of genres, but Blackshear finds it hard to define himself within frames of only one. Therefore, there is a drop of horror and a premise of low-budget sci-fi, but space’s left for romance and psychological drama too. And this crazy mix delivers an odd experience. The very idea of progressive paranoia devouring Wyatt regarding supernatural presence is a tribute paid to classics like They Live, delivering a neat look into human mind and game of suggestion. But on the other hand, there is a vibe of Hugh Grant’s romantic comedies that is a complete misfire – too dragged down and unnecessary, which obviously affects the left time for the engaging rest.
Still, there is a lot to praise this indie sci-fi for. The score, structured according to emerging trends of highly-electronic sound design, works perfectly, especially once Wyatt’s visions become more than just voices in his head. Although the limited budget is somehow burdening Blackshear’s work, the director manages to scare – the last scenes in the basement are creatively haunting, marking some top-notch horror directing.
They Look Like People has its ups and downs, but yet offers a relatively sufficient treat for indie cinema fans. A low-budget drama quickly turns into psychological tale of male friendship with some really dark spots on the way – it’s a twisted thriller that works out fine for a lonely evening.
UMP Grade: 29.5/50
(Cinematography: 6.5, Plot: 6, Acting: 5.5, Soundtrack: 6.5, Quaintness: 5)