Queer slasher 'They/Them' promises a story of empowerment

John Logan's directorial debut 'They/Them' is a queer slasher film about the "horrors" of conversion therapy - and the ominous people you might encounter.

Gang of queer teens holding bags before the slasher kicks off
Image: Via @MovieUpdates Twitter

John Logan is set to make his directorial debut with his new queer horror slasher They/Them – emphasis on the slash. Logan is an acclaimed screenwriter, having worked alongside Tim Burton on Sweeney Todd and Sam Mendes on Skyfall. He is the executive producer of They/Them, working with the acclaimed horror production company Blumhouse.

Speaking about the film, Logan said: “I’ve loved horror movies as long as I can remember, I think because monsters represent ‘the other’ and as a gay kid I felt a powerful sense of kinship with those characters who were different, outlawed, or forbidden. I wanted to make a movie that celebrates queerness, with characters that I never saw when I was growing up. When people walk away from the movie, I hope they’re going to remember the incredible love that these kids have for each other and how that love needs to be protected and celebrated.”

His film comes at a time when bodily autonomy and LGBTQ+ rights have come under attack across the globe. Logan’s film offers an uplifting message of solidarity, paying homage to the supportive communities that have been instrumental in protecting and advancing LGBTQ+ people. Instead of the teenagers being outcasts or alienated, which has been symptomatic of queer representation in horror, Logan uses their friendship to showcase the power of community. In doing so, he is flipping the normative, heterosexual gaze that has permeated the horror genre.

This promising horror film takes place in a conversion therapy camp run by Owen Whistler (Kevin Bacon). Bacon has a history of engaging with experimental horror, appearing in Friday the 13th early in his career. In this most recent role, Bacon plays the owner of Whistler Camp: a place dedicated to giving LGBTQ+ children “a new sense of freedom”.

He appears alongside fellow staff members Anna Chlumsky and Carrie Preston. The conversion programme takes place throughout a week-long stay, with each new form of treatment bringing with it a new element of torture. While the psychological horror mounts, another danger is revealed: there is a killer on the loose. 

Rather than falling into the misery tropes surrounding LGBTQ+ filmmaking, the queer slasher offers us a story of endurance and community. The movie focuses on the central character of non-binary teen Jordan, played by Transgender actor Theo Germaine. They are joined by Monique Kim, Quei Tann, Austin Crute, Anna Lore, Cooper Koch and Darwin del Fabro. The youths must work together to protect themselves from the murderous rampages and the camp owners.

They/Them is scheduled for release on the Peacock streaming platform on August 5th. 

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