A more straightforward film than its shlocky title might suggest, John Logan’s directorial debut They/Them (pronounced “they slash them”) finds ways to occasionally allude to the dangers of conversion therapy, but rarely conjures real dread with its scattered serial killer saga. A limp horror drama that quickly peters out — both narratively and stylistically — it features hints of real character, real horror, and real desire, but turns away from each one as swiftly as a homophobe catching a glimpse of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. In fact, by the time it reaches its whimper of a conclusion, it feels downright cowardly.
After opening with a genuinely thrilling kill sequence on a shadowy forest trail — in which a cloaked and masked murderer stalks, notably, a woman with short hair and gender-neutral fashion — They/Them introduces its potential victims, a group of queer teenagers and young adults arriving at an isolated gay conversion camp. This is Camp Whistler, whose upbeat motto of “Respect. Renew. Rejoice.” is matched in cadence by its cheery head counselor, Owen Whistler (Kevin Bacon). Owen makes his intentions known up front: he wants this group of gay, bisexual, transgender, and nonbinary youths to find a sense of gender normativity, but only if they really want to. This element of choice is, of course, illusory, since many of the kids were sent to Camp Whistler by their parents, but Owen ensures a welcoming atmosphere, and an unexpected understanding when protagonist Jordan (Theo Germaine), a nonbinary character, asks to be addressed using they/them pronouns.