There are movies that are so bad that they are good. They Reach is one of them. Directed by Sylas Dall and starring Mary Madaline Roe, Morgan Chandler, Eden Campbel, Ash Calder and Frederick Floyd in lead roles, this movie is a mess of themes. I have a natural talent for enjoying bad movies of any genre, but there are few that baffle me. They Reach managed to reach that point.
IMDB puts up the synopsis as: “In 1979, a young girl stumbles upon a possessed tape player. She unknowingly unleashes a demonic entity that haunts her family while slowly dragging the small town of Clarkston to Hell.” Yes, a possessed tape player.
Introducing a demon… or a kid
They Reach starts off with a demon introduction. Yep, there’s a possessed boy and two “researchers” who try to figure out what’s wrong with him. That obviously goes south and the demon possesses a tape recorder that was recording everything.
Cue 10 years later and we find 13-year-old Jessica and her family coping the loss of her older brother. Jessica is “different” and that is evident from her room which has “science stuff” instead of “girly stuff”. At one point she says, “I’m not a girl, I’m a nerd!” because somehow nerdiness replaces your gender. It also doesn’t help that her father is a sexist pile of trash who wants her to take up sewing and cooking instead of focusing on her true interest. She also her two friends, Sam and Cheddar. Cheddar has no etiquette whatsoever and Sam is hopelessly in love with Jessica. That’s as much as you probably need to know about them.
Confused theme basket
So anyway, she finds the cursed tape recorder and releases the demon, that teenagers seldom do in movies like these. They Reach then gets a little confused about what kind of a movie it wants to be – a mopey teenage drama, a horror or a comedy. It tries all three together and fails at all of them. Let’s tackle one theme at a time.
The three kids are the most annoying people I have come across in movies. They are the embodiment of the “I’m different and no one understands me ☹” trope. However, Cheddar takes the cake here. You know those kids that insist on doing the opposite of everything they are told because “they are not like other girls?” Yep, that’s Cheddar. At one point in the movie, a character asks the kids to not touch a possibly cursed doll. After she leaves, Cheddar immediately tries to grab for it. I really don’t understand the logic behind this? Who in their right mind would do this?
There are no horror elements. Period. Just some weird jumps scares.
They Reach also tries to be a comedy for some weird reason. However, as expected, the jokes are not funny and more often than not, end up being annoying. Additionally, the sequences keep going on and on, with characters trying to give punch lines. But they were so bad that they blew my mind.
An infuriating end
So, towards the end of They Reach, Jessica’s father decides to give up his life in order to save her. After that, there’s a cool shot where we see her and Sam hugging, thinking that it’s over. But, he is killed as well. She then cuts her hand on the tape recorder and we find ourselves back to when she was buying the cursed thing. It seems like she was dreaming and she goes back to her perfect life, before all this happened. An hour and a half of the movie… was a dream. I have never in my life felt so angry as I felt after this movie.
I hate dream sequences in horror movies. They do nothing and add nothing to the story, except for some cheap jump scares. But the ingenious thing would be to make the entire movie a dream sequence, because then, you wouldn’t have to sum the movie up, right? It’s the laziest thing in the entire world and I have never been this disappointed. Well, maybe except for another movie with an equally bad ending.
Let it end, please
They Reach is an indie horror (?) movie that is shot extremely weirdly. The actors, additionally, do a terrible job and it always feels like they are being forced to work. It’s half-hearted and, honestly, not scary. There are better ways to spend your quarantine. Even if you ever come across this title, give it a skip.