Monday, February 14, 2022

They Live in the Grey (2022)


Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: They Live in the Grey (2022)
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Length: 123 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: STANDOFF Pictures, Whiskey Stream Productions, Shudder
Directors: Abel Vang, Burlee Vang
Writers: Abel Vang, Burlee Vang
Actors: Michelle Krusiec, Ken Kirby, Madelyn Grace, Audrey Moore, Ellen Wroe, J.R. Cacia, Bernard Bullen, Cami Storm, Ian Stanley, Patrick Hume
IMDb Blurb: Claire, while investigating a child abuse case, discovers that the family is being tormented by a supernatural entity.

Selina’s Point of View:
They Live in the Grey had a great trailer. It really sucked me in when we went through the coming attractions for February.
As it turns out, just about every single scare was in that trailer. Instead of a hair-raising horror/thriller, I wound up with a horror/drama.
Now, They Live in the Grey was not terrible. It was just badly advertised. It went into the effects of grief just as much as it did the supernatural elements. In fact, those supernatural elements almost seemed to be an after-thought. The same story could have been told if every ghost was removed from the film. The ending would have needed a couple of tweaks, but that’s about it.

Actually, now that I think about it, that might have been closer to a thriller than what we got.
It was also about a half-hour too long. The ghost events seemed to drag on in some scenes. Those moments didn’t make it scarier, either. Instead, the tension slowly subsided as the scenes dragged on.
There were some good twists, and there were a few very well-done scenes depicting the toll grief can take on a person and their relationships. I was never completely bored.
If you opt to watch They Live in the Grey, go into it expecting a drama. It will keep your expectations where they need to be.

Cat’s Point of View:
They Live in the Grey was a stand-out for me among the trailers we watched while prepping for February’s Top 20 Movies to Look Out For list. I really enjoyed the trailer and mentioned at the time that it was giving me some real The Sixth Sense (1999) vibes – but, you know, without the whole twist from that particular movie. This production landed at my #14 position on my personal list, though Selina’s article has They Live in the Grey squarely in the middle of the pack at #12.
Looking back now in the wake of watching They Live in the Grey, I question some of the decisions made in that trailer. Going into this film, I had the expectation of something along the lines of the aforementioned Sixth Sense blended with The Conjuring (2013). That’s not entirely what happened, and yet it was still a decent assessment.

When They Live in the Grey leaned into the supernatural and the daily terror that Claire Yang dealt with on a regular basis, things were firing on all cylinders. The pain that she felt was palpable and my heart was breaking with her. Michelle Krusiec (The Invitation, Hawaii Five-O, Shooter) had me deeply ensnared in her story and feeling every bit of emotion with her.
The wheels fell off the bus a little bit with the pacing. Regardless of how invested I was in the story, things just seemed to creep along. I checked the runtime progress two or three times along the way because I was starting to get twitchy. It was hard to stick with it in a few stretches, but I rode it out – not only for the sake of the review but because my curiosity demanded it.

The Vang Brothers, Abel and Burlee Vang, (Nyab Siab Zoo, Hollywood Chaos, Bedeviled) are still getting experience crafting full-length feature films, so it’s clear they’re in the learning curve with pacing and editing for clarity, etc. If you go into They Live in the Grey expecting the slow burn of a drama rather than a fast-paced thriller, you’d be better prepared to enjoy the experience. I'm really excited to see what they do in the future.
Don’t get me wrong, though. There are some thrills. There were plenty of jump-scares. Tension built now and again as you wondered when or if a ghost would present itself to embattled and grieving Claire.  There were a few bloody moments, but it wasn’t over-the-top. The production quality was actually pretty good – especially with the supernatural effects.
They Live in the Grey was a twisty and emotional journey that I don’t regret taking. It will premiere on Shudder February 17th, 2022.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – None

Trust the Dice - Parental Guidance Rating: R
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 3/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5
Movie Trailer:

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