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They’re Outside (2020) Review

They’re Outside begins with footage of a woman about to commit suicide. Then we cut to Richard Hill (Nicholas Vince, Hellraiser, For We Are Many) relating the myth of Green Eyes and telling us about the footage we’re going to see. Then we get text giving us the usual found footage introduction about missing people and unaired footage. Then, after all of this, we get to the actual story.

Max Spencer (Tom Wheatley, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) is a YouTube psychologist. Along with his girlfriend and camerawoman Nicole (Nicole Miners, Visions of a Vivid Life) he plans to cure Sarah (Christine Randall, Evil Bong 3: The Wrath of Bong, Harvest Moon) of the agoraphobia that’s kept her trapped in her home for the past five years. And he’s going to do it in ten days.

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The unnecessarily convoluted and confusing introduction does at least get some basic information to us. The footage we’re about to see was edited by Penny (Emily Booth, Evil Aliens, Shed of the Dead) but has never been shown before. And the backstory on Green Eyes and his curse on the villagers that killed him. Which you know is somehow linked to Sarah’s agoraphobia. And possibly the fate of her young daughter.

They’re Outside came about when the question was asked ‘What if a person’s agoraphobia was linked to supernatural events rather than being a purely psychological condition? And what if nobody believed them?’

Airell Anthony Hayles & Sam Casserly

Writer Airell Anthony Hayles and co-director Sam Casserly have an interesting idea to work the plot of They’re Outside around. It’s not a new one, the man of science who refuses to believe that someone’s condition is indeed caused by the supernatural. But it can be a fun idea to work with due to the many ways it can play out.

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And with Max being as much of a showman as he is a psychologist, an even less ethical version of Dr. Phil if that’s possible, there are even more directions the story can go and mocking phonies like Max is always fun. Unfortunately, Hayles and Casserly go in a direction full of talk and soap opera dramatics that sees jealousy and suspicion creep up between Sarah and Nicole in one of the most unlikely triangles I’ve seen in a long time.

If you can get past this rather tedious first half, which sees only one even remotely supernatural incident happening, things do get better as They’re Outside goes on. Penny takes a major role in the proceedings and is a much more interesting character than Nicole, who was usually off-screen working the camera unless she was fighting with Max. More importantly, he begins to make progress with Sarah’s condition. And it becomes obvious someone, or something, has their own interest in that.

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While They’re Outside never becomes the Blair Wicker Man Project that I was hoping for, it does work up to some effective moments. But the introduction, which feels like it’s only there to put genre vet Vince’s name on the film, and the general slow start really hurt the film.

It’s doubly frustrating as Green Eyes is based on a real piece of folklore and the Jack in the Green celebration. They’re Outside should have dispensed with all the relationship drama and spent more time on it to draw the viewer in. Or as much as they can be drawn in, since we know everyone’s fate already. Fans of found footage films won’t find that a problem, though.

They’re Outside will be available on October 29th on digital platforms worldwide from Terror Films. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more information.

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