They Look Like People

Synopsis: A man named Wyatt believes he’s being contacted by a creepy deep voice at night on a broken cell phone. He soon learns that demons are all around him, disguising themselves as people. However, once the war the deep voice had promised arrives, nothing happens and we learn Wyatt simply has schizophrenia. *You already know how mad I am about this*

Year Released: 2015

Director: Perry Blackshear

Rating: Nope

Horror Ratings

Movie Pitch: You know, Schizophrenia can be really scary, maybe it’s time we add to the dumpster fire and make one more movie depicting that! We can sell it as a horror movie! Folks will love it!

Favorite Death: No deaths in this movie, unfortunately.

Funniest Part: Wyatt is doing things with a nail gun one day, and after nearly sending one through his skull and hand, he decides to go up to the roof. there, he pretends to snipe people with it. I didn’t think this was “funny” per-se, I just thought it was really random, like the rest of this movie.

What they did right: I liked that this was a relationship-focused movie but it was a friendship. Not a hetero romance. I also liked that they made you feel as if you were in Wyatt’s head the whole time, not knowing what was happening just as much as he did.

they-look-like-people-explained-3Special effects and lighting: All really bad. Though there aren’t many instances of special effects, they are cheesy and obviously fake. Lighting is constantly dark and dim. While this lends to the creep factor, it also made it hard to see things and easy to hide  bad costumes and sets.

What I thought would happen: I thought there would actually be monsters and the world would learn it’s lesson about stigmatizing “crazy people.” I thought maybe Wyatt and Christian would be the only two people prepared for this demonic war and would fight side by side. That would have made a better movie.


I’m heaving a deep sigh as I write this review. I’m sure you’re all getting tired of me getting mad about misrepresentation of mental illnesses. So if you don’t want to hear me ramble on about this again, feel free to ditch me for a better movie review blog.

Now that the unfollowers are all gone, let’s chat, shall we? This movie begins with a man we later learn is Wyatt, and what I assume is a woman (based on bone structure and hair) lying in bed together. He’s wide awake and staring at her, like you do.

She turns to face him, but her face is completely shadowed over. You can’t see anything. Some ominous music starts to play as the camera slowly zooms in on where her face should be. Here you think there’s going to be some kind of jump scare, but nothing happens.

After this, we see the main character, Wyatt walking down the road. We also meet his friend Christian. Christian is working out, flexing in the mirror, and listening to some woman say inspirational things in his headphones. The two meet on the street, Wyatt carrying a bag of his belongings.

maxresdefault2At this point, my favorite line occurs. Wyatt mentions he’s staying in the city and Christian tells him he should stay with him. When Wyatt agrees, Christian offers to take his duffel bag. Wyatt does the polite decline thing, but Christian counters that by saying “It’s okay, I’ve been working out.” This makes me laugh because it’s so stupid. It barely lends to Christian’s character aside from solidifying the fact that he’s a bit of a narcissist.

Anyway, next we learn that Christian has been trying to ask his boss Mara out for forever. He’s finally landed a date and makes it a double date once he realizes Wyatt should come. They end up in the hospital because Mara’s friend is a freaking clutz.

Not only do Wyatt, Mara, and Christian avoid eye contact, but they don’t make conversation whatsoever the entire time they’re at the hospital, thus “wasting the date” according to Christian.

Are you bored yet? That’s only the first 20 minutes. Allow me to fast forward for the sake of our sanity.

Wyatt ends up noting that he has been experiencing weird things, he suspects Schizophrenia, but “looked some stuff up” and found he doesn’t meet the criteria. As the viewer, you believe him,  but at the end we find out he has a really severe Hollywood diagnosis of the disease.

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I say Hollywood diagnosis because patients with schizophrenia mostly have auditory hallucinations, but Hollywood likes to throw in the small percentage that see visual hallucinations as well.

For an amazing reference, check out the episode on Schizophrenia Ignorance Was Bliss put out. I learned more about this affliction listening to that podcast episode than 4 years as a psych major.

Anyway, Wyatt starts getting creepy phone calls, having vivid dreams about these demons, and seeing visual hallucinations. As a matter of fact, you learn by the end of the movie that the woman in bed with him was the woman he was about to marry, but because she did the creepy face-shifting thing, he killed her.

So he’s under the impression, thanks to the creepy voice, that a war is coming. He’ll have to battle demons that look like people. These are the things he’s been seeing with the creepy faces.

There are a few random things that happen between now and the end, but none are important enough to talk about.

Once the end does arrives, the thunder happens and Wyatt takes Christian to the creepy basement he’s been hoarding his end of the world stash in. He’s got duct tape, a nail gun, and dry ice in a bottle sulfuric acid.

they-look-like-people-2015-1Because Wyatt thinks Christian is one of them, Christian lets him tie him up and gag him. Wyatt also puts a bag over his head because the demons can “get you” with their voices and their eyes. As 6 O’ Clock approaches, Wyatt starts seeing hallucinations. Thankfully before he douses his friend with skin-peeling chemicals, he takes off the bag and sees his friend is totally fine.

This was a powerful movie about friendship. It was not a horror movie. This was a movie about a friend who lost everything (Christian) taking time out of his life to care for a friend that was suffering. He didn’t call the cops when Wyatt handed him a letter detailing what was going on, then a hatchet to protect himself. He called a therapist because he’d been in a low place too and that was what helped him.

In the end, Christian let Wyatt tie him up because he knew he would make things worse by being scared of him. He understood that it needed to be done even if he didn’t understand why. The guy who plays Christian is a terrible actor, but the role is really well-written.

Wyatt turns out to have a mental disorder, and that’s fine. People have those. What’s not fine is that they used things he was suffering from to make the movie scary. We were not under the pretense that he had anything wrong with him and therefore his symptoms were used to make this movie horrifying.

I know the idea was to be trapped in his head with him, but we see other characters interacting outside of him. We follow Christian to work, see Mara in another light, as a person, and we even meet an extraneous character that Wyatt is kind to (Mara’s friend). The movie made it seem like the reality we experienced through Wyatt’s eyes was always happening, even when he wasn’t there. This makes me mad because then it turns from a symptom of an untreated disease to a thrill or a jump scare.

800full-they-look-like-people-screenshot

Aside from being awful in that sense, the acting was only alright and the sound effects were all too prominent and loud. I mean, in what world are scissor snips louder than a shower?

Also, the special effects left a lot to be desired and the scenery was pretty boring (I think overall there were five filming locations, one single street, an apartment, a conference room, a basement, and a roof)

I gave this movie a Nope for obvious reasons. The only thing keeping it from becoming a Hell No was the last scene. When Wyatt takes off the paper bag from Christian’s head, he sees that he’s not a demon and he doesn’t need to defend himself. The act of Christian being willing to go along with what Wyatt wanted made this movie redeemable.


Last Week’s Review: Friend Request

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