They Live in the Grey – DVD Review

They Live in the Grey is a Shudder-exclusive horror film released online and on DVD, one of those modern horror films where it’s all about trauma—and not actually scary. The premise is not a bad one, but it just isn’t that good.

Claire Lane (Michelle Krusiec) is a social worker who worked in Child Protective Services, and whose own son has recently died. She’s been having dark visions, and soon realizes that the abuser in the house is a supernatural entity. Once she figures this out, she’s fighting to keep the child from being taken away from the family.

Great idea, but it’s over two hours long—in my opinion, a death knell for almost any horror movie—and it needed a serious trim in the editing suite. It really drags, so it’s just not very engaging. It wants to be considered elevated horror (a term I don’t like to use, because I think it’s pretentious, even though I like a lot of the movies it’s used to describe), but it’s like a parody of that contentious genre. The film showcases some of the perils of indie filmmaking, when you don’t necessarily have someone breathing down you neck to trim it down.

Krusiec, who was also in The Invitation but originally broke through as a TV travel journalist—is fine in the lead. The rest of the cast are no one you’ve seen before, as it’s a relatively low-budget film. They’re a perfectly serviceable cast, but not strong enough to make up for the lack of scare or style.

The cinematography is pretty blah, and gives it the feel of a straight-to-video movie. It seems derivative of the film Case 39, which has a very similar premise but a better cast of actors involved. It has the usual odd camera angles to make it look arty, and all the other stuff you’ve seen before. There’s a bit of The Sixth Sense in there, and the end result is something derivative and boring.

I would guess that it’s not a film that many people have finished on Shudder (and I have noticed that if Shudder only releases a film on DVD and not Blu-Ray, it’s usually not one of their better ones.) In the end it almost feels like a Hallmark Channel version of a horror movie, and that’s not a good thing.

The only extra is a behind-the-scenes photo gallery.

★★

Ian Schultz

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