They/Them (which is pronounced “They-slash-Them”) is part of a genre that I’ve made an effort to get more into the last few years: horror, specifically slasher. This is the latest in a long line of horror films from Blumhouse Productions; this year alone, they have released Firestarter, The Black Phone, and will release Halloween Ends in October. This is also the first film from Blumhouse to debut on Peacock, which is good to grow their original film library. They/Them is very different from any horror movie I’ve seen because of the setting of the film: a gay conversion camp.
This review will contain some spoilers so you’ve been warned!
The thing that I appreciate the most about this film is the authentic LGBTQIA+ representation among the campers, with Theo Germaine leading the camper cast as Jordan. On the other side, you have the adults running Whistler Camp, led by Kevin Bacon as Owen Whistler. Bacon makes his long awaited return to the slasher genre, having starred in the original Friday the 13th. However, this time around, Bacon takes on an antagonistic role, which I expected since he’s running a gay conversion camp. That being said, Bacon and Germaine give terrific performances in the film and their rivalry is instant from the beginning.
While this does end up becoming a slasher film, the horror for the first half of the film comes from the purpose of the camp itself. Gay conversion camps and gay conversion therapy are absolutely inhumane and should be nonexistent in this world; you can’t change who people are meant to be. You see that in two of the camp counselors who are married (Hayley Griffith and Boone Platt), but are clearly attracted to and flirt with campers. There are some horrible things that they put the campers through (one torture scene in particular), and I truly feel sorry for anyone who has experienced something like that in real life, because it actually happens.
This is your final warning about major spoilers, so watch the film before finishing the review!
Anna Chlumsky gives a great performance as Molly, the nurse at the camp who ends up becoming the killer in the end. However, I appreciated that it wasn’t the campers who were killed, but the counselors running the camp. You would think going into the movie the camp would slowly kill the kids, so I liked that twist. The rest of the campers give good supporting performances as well, so as a whole they helped move the story along. I’d especially like to highlight Monique Kim and Anna Lore; they have great chemistry together and make their budding romance together believable.
Overall, I liked They/Them for what it was: a film that highlights the horrors that the LGBTQIA+ community have to go through because people can’t accept them as they are. The script is a little uneven at times, sometimes being serious while other times a campy slasher. The performances help make up for that, so I’d definitely recommend giving it a watch on Peacock this weekend, especially if you’re a fan of horror/slasher films.