Movie Diary 8/8/2022

They/Them (John Logan, 2022). You get the idea pretty quickly: The setting is a summer camp straight out of a Friday the 13th movie, but the monster isn’t a hockey-mask-wearing killer; the monster is the camp, which is devoted to gay conversion therapy. That’s a workable concept, and the movie has a little fun with the conventions of the slasher movie (freaky camp custodian lurking around; knife-happy opening sequence with killer in some kind of mask, if not hockey). Plus, Kevin Bacon (a Friday the 13th alumnus himself) gets to do a buttery, faux-sincere monologue as the camp director welcoming the latest group of LGBTQ teens to the place – and Bacon can do that kind of hey-I’m-just-a-regular-guy sort of menace very well. But the film is so intent on empowering its teens that it slips into corn pretty early, and Logan, a veteran screenwriter, doesn’t have much flair for the thriller stuff. Carrie Preston has a good scene as an unsettling psychotherapist, Theo Germaine and Anna Chlumsky fill out their roles effectively within the clumsy set-ups, and someone called Darwin del Fabro seems destined for a lengthy horror-movie career. Overall, though – nope.

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