They Look Like People is a fantastic little horror film by Perry Blackshear that tackles the demonic horror genre with mental illness. It's better than most indie horror films in the reality of what it's conveying and saying about real-life issues of mental illness. The DTS-HD 2.0 audio track and the 1080p HD video transfer are both solid. The bonus features are all worth the time. Recommended!
Indie horror movies give more to the world than big-budget films do by usually examining the characters for a bit longer than the usual jump scares every five minutes. With They Look Like People, that element rings true as filmmaker Perry Blackshear walks that fine line between mental illness and demonic horror, which the results are very satisfying in this subdued 80-min movie.
Blackshear plays multiple roles behind the camera here as the film follows two longtime friends who have reunited when one of them suffers from schizophrenia. This causes severe hallucinations of the apocalypse and demonic visions, which is where the horror aspects come to play. With those hallucinations off the table, They Look Like People is a great character study of somebody who suffers from this debilitating mental illness and wants to get better.
Being a low-budget movie, there aren't fancy camera movements or big explosions, however, Blackshear utilizes his talent in other ways with a slow-burn progression of a character slowly sliding into something dire and ferocious. They Look Like People is a surprise and never exploits the mental illness story for laughs or scares, but instead, brings it to attention in a wonderful way.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
They Look Like People hallucinates its way to Blu-ray via OCN Distribution and Yellow Veil Pictures. The disc is housed inside a hard, clear plastic case. The artwork features the main actor screaming. The slipcover (now out of print from Vinegar Syndrome) features the same image but with something demonic exiting from his mouth. There is a booklet included.
They Look Like People comes with a 1080p HD transfer that looks good for the source it comes from. The color palette isn't bold or bright, but it's rather moldy and low-key with tons of blues, greens, browns, and beiges that seem to be toned down a bit. Brighter, warmer colors never pop either, even when the hallucinations kick in. The black levels are inky enough but aren't very deep and the skin tones seem natural in brighter conditions. The detail can be soft at times but still reveal decent closures. There are some instances of banding, aliasing, and noise that crop up too.
This release comes with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix that is dialogue heavy. Sound effects are robust enough but never make a big impact. The dialogue and sound effects can be a little out-of-sync at times as well. The score always adds to the suspense, although it's rather sparse. There is no big low end of bass either.
Three commentary tracks seem like overkill with the same people, but these three tracks are quite fun. There are some interviews and behind-the-scenes, and more. There are about 50 minutes of extras.
They Look Like People is a wonderful examination of mental illness, told through a horror movie that never exploits or makes fun of. It's a great piece of indie filmmaking that should be seen. The 1080p HD video transfer and DTS-HD 2.0 audio mix are both decent. The bonus features are worth watching. Recommended!