Was the world really ready for the first gay conversion camp horror story? Yes. Was Bluhouse Films and writer and director John Logan too afraid to show the REAL horrors that goes on in these torture camps? Unfortunately the answer is yes to that also.
In They/Them Kevin Bacon plays Owen Whistler in this slasher horror film set at an LGBTQIA+ conversion camp. Several queer campers join Whistler for a week of programming intended to “help them find a new sense of freedom”. Owen commences the gaslighting immediately. . He rolls out a series of red flags, from telling the campers they are there to seek the “gender-normative lifestyle that’s right for you” to weaponizing buzzwords like “inclusive” to defend his various positions. This is some of the better writing in movie and it become increasingly more psychologically unsettling, the campers must work together to protect themselves. When an unidentified axe murderer starts claiming victims, things get even more dangerous.
But They/Them removed the one major piece of true horror that would have made this the first one of a kind LGBT horror movie. (Aside from Kevin Smith’s RED STATE which didn’t shy away.) They/Them took all the religious fanaticism and many of the major abuses that have happened at these camps out of the movie.
“If you’re happy with the way you are, then more power to you,” adding that God doesn’t hate them said NO conversion camp director anywhere EVER.
Except in this movie that it.
The one truly unsettling and possibly ONLY real conversion camp activity was the therapy session between Jordan (Theo Germaine), the film’s central protagonist, who’s trans and nonbinary and Cora Whistler (Carrie Preston) who exploits Jordan’s innermost doubts about their parents’ rejection, saying, “You’re nothing to them, you’re not even a freak.” In the robotic creep of a Stepford wife, she crushes her prey: “They’re never going to love you… unless you drop this nonsense and admit what you are. A scared, lonely, ugly little dyke.” Jordan returns to their cabin disarmed, believing they’re a fake.
And just like that all the suspense and tension is ruined a few minutes later, Jordan and the other campers appear to be in a Stephen Siondheim musical, proudly singing and dancing to Pink’s 2010 song Fuckin’ Perfect. Which believe me it was not.
It just goes further downhill from there. Including a bit about “he’s our forbidden fruit.” Don’t start me. (UGH)
They/Them is the first horror movie to tackle the theme of gay and trans conversion therapy as a slasher film. With a brilliant cast of LGBTQ actors, Logan (who’s openly gay) consulted with executive producer Scott Turner Schofield to make sure the characters were represented in an inclusive way. Unfortunately Logan never called anyone to find out what conversion therapy camps were really like and the real life torture and horrors that TTHOUSANDS UNPON THOUSANDS of LGBT individuals endured for many for them for decades that make the events in the movie pale by comparison.
MINUS – 3 snaps for removing the religious fanaticism as not to offend anyone
MINUS – 2 snaps for using “forbidden fruit” gag.
MINUS -2 snaps for Pink’s “Fucking Perfect Glee Musical Number
FINAL SCORE – 3 SNAPS OUT OF 10.
They/Them is available to watch by purchase via Peacock Network (Wait till it hits LOGO)
Learn more about the TRUTH of Conversion Therapy Torture by CLICKING THE LINKS BELOW.