Must See Movie They Look Like People Explained and Discussed
They Look Like People is a surprisingly good indie flick that puts characters front and center, while giving a ton of good surprises along the way.
4.7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (43 Votes)

Must See Movie They Look Like People Explained and Discussed

Man, I love bringing you guys off the beaten road movies that push you – manhandle you, and make you think. And I got a great one for you today. Today is the must see movie They Look Like People explained and discussed. The premise? Basically a guy starts to hear voices and begins to suspect that evil minions of hell spawn are hiding deep within the humans that were all around him. Here, just check out this trailer, and then we’ll dive in.

Alright – go see it. It’s a low budget, friend flick, about a guy that may, or may not, be on to something. Right? And I adored it. Everything about it. Sure, it was made on half a shoestring budget. It has zero actors you will recognize. And it has a heart bigger than all of Chicago. It’s intense, mainly because you know just how much these people care for one another. I’m stopping now. Go see it. Here. Here. Here. or Here. (I never do that. I never link to places to watch it right this instant. I just don’t. So click one. Pay your half a latte to see this big fantastic idea of a movie. Then join me below to talk about it.

Ok? Everyone who hasn’t seen it is gone already, RIGHT? Great. Good even.

Really? You are all gone? But coming back? Good.

I’ve always wanted to buy a video camera from Best Buy, film for 5 days straight and just string together something great like this. What a blast that would be. Sure, I would never pull off a Primer level movie. But maybe I could pull off a They Look Like People quality type flick. Not that this isn’t great, but it is really worth aspiring to.

They Look Like People Overview

MacLeod Andrews plays Wyatt, a down on his luck man who has recently left his fiancé and come to visit his best friend Christian (Evan Dumouchel). Very quickly it is clear that Wyatt isn’t doing well. He is hearing things, and getting calls from the rabbit in the movie Donnie Darko. Ok, ok, so not really. But holy cow did they sound the same or what?!? And as Wyatt listens to the voices, it is his friends that come around him in an attempt to help understand and to learn how to help. But is the battle just in Wyatt’s head, or is it real? The entire movie teeters on this question from minute one.

Must See Movie They Look Like People Explained and Discussed

When I watched it the first time a couple of days ago, it hung just a minute in, and the audio continued. Here is what I sat watching as the movie audio continued by the screen didn’t…

I was like – ok, avant garde. Sound is scary. I hear flies. Ok. Yeah, I get there is stress here. Chaos. Right. But, is she breathing? Is she moving at all? Yeah, I think she is. And he is hearing things maybe? What?

So then I went and watched it on another service (first one stuck on Google, second one Amazon. (Don’t worry it was worth the 8 bucks.) I queue it up on Amazon and 45 minutes later, same type of a scene, sleeping figures, and it sticks again! I was like… really, I think maybe something is happening here. Director/Writer Perry Blackshear is making a huge artistic statement here. (Or my laptop sucks.) Woah. Super meta. Oh, no… my laptop really does suck. Eventually I got the movie to play through from beginning to end and I saw it as it was intended. Phew.

But the movie’s timeline can be summarized in a single paragraph I believe. Basically, Wyatt leaves (kills?) his wife, and crashes on Christian’s floor. He’s been having troubles mentally. He’s begun to believe that only he can see that there are aliens everywhere. That they are taking over everyone on the planet. And out of the Kindness of Christian’s hospitality, Wyatt tries to get a grip on reality. Only problem is? It continues to get worse, to the point where Wyatt ties Christian up and is ready kill him. Until Christian completely yields himself over to Wyatt, trusting that his friend will do the right thing. Which, ultimately breaks the spell that Wyatt is under. Right?

They Look Like People Wyatt and Christian Details

The single most important detail about the movie is the relationship between Wyatt and Christian. Each of their backstory plot points are extremely critical to the culmination of the ending and the eventual ending that is woven together for us. Wyatt’s potential insanity is clearly discussed and evaluated. Is he really hearing voices? Is he really seeing things? This guy is definitely not looking good. What he needs is more therapy, more counseling, more drugs. He’s in a bad way… or is he?

But it’s Christian’s story that is more nuanced. He was the skinny kid that was a pushover back in school. We know this from a number of key comments from old school friends, and also from Christian himself. From the basketball game wherein Christian tries to prove himself on the court after all these years. He reminds me of Napoleon Dynamite’s Uncle Rico, always looking backward to the big game. Always wishing he could prove himself. Christian also is constantly listening to motivational quotes that he has had recorded by his ex-fiancé. Which he has lost. Which just speaks even more to the tragedy of his life. Just such good nuance there. And as Christian moves through the movie, he is kidding himself, perpetually. And it is only when he loses his job, and quits kidding himself that he’s changed, that he is better, that he realizes the only thing he has is Wyatt. And Wyatt is either A) going insane, or B) really on to something.

Must See Movie They Look Like People Explained and Discussed

The Ending of They Look Like People Explained

As I have mentioned earlier, the ending is key. And grappling with the nuance of it is important. So as we barrel towards the end of the movie, we have several different forces playing out simultaneously. We have Wyatt, Christian and Mara – all circling the drain of their interactions with one another. All of them pushing and pulling intrinsically on one another in this downward spiral of entropy. Mara, being Christian’s boss who also happens to have been the person to have fired him. Christian being the clueless high school dweeb that is struggling to overcome these weaknesses and failings. And Wyatt, who is doing great, minus the fact that he may be insane.

And as we come to the moment that the voices have been declaring as the day the final battle for the earth will take place, D-Day, we see each of these characters even go further and darker than ever before. And the pinnacle of this movie isn’t Wyatt holding the acid over Christian… it was Christian saying to Wyatt, “Trust me to trust you.” Possibly one of the most powerful lines in all of cinematographic history.  Right? When was the last time that you have heard someone say those words to you? Could a more loving and more powerful thing even be said? It screams… I know you don’t trust yourself. But I trust you. And I want you to let yourself be trusted. Verbal Dynamite Much? Such a fantastic ending. And I’d even go so far as to say that the entirety of the movie is a romance – not an erotic romance – but rather a bromance.

In Greek there are several different words for love. There is:

  1. Eros. Which obviously is erotic love.
  2. Philia. Which is deep friendship or bromance (City of brotherly love anyone?)
  3. Agape. Which is a love for everyone, a Godly love.
  4. Ludus. A playful version of love.
  5. Pragma. Which is a longsuffering love.
  6. Philautia. Which is self love.

Why the FRICK do we only have one word for love again? I’m confused. So yeah, the romance I am talking about here is Philia. A very deep and strong brotherly love between two guys who really do love each other despite the hell that they are going through right now. Which, is even more impressive if you think about how the movie was made.

They Look Like People The Making Of
Must See Movie They Look Like People Explained and DiscussedOne of the greatest things about They Look Like people is that Blackshear, the writer, director and general all around inventor of They Look Like People had a script that he threw away right before his friends flew out on his dime to start filming. Here, this is what Perry had to say about the original inception of the movie:

“The original inspiration behind the film is that I wanted to work with the actors because they are all my old friends and we have been wanting to make a movie for a very long time. So I bought them plane tickets, because they live in LA and I live in New York, even before I had a script. I said to them that they were coming over to New York and we’re going to do something. I had a different script that I trashed right before we started shooting and I wrote this one very fast. It is sort of inspired by a good friend of mine and I’ve had a few friends who have undergone some really bad stuff. One of them, he was having a really rough year and he started to think people were spying on him through his computer and he started to hear voices. He told me later on that if he didn’t have some really good friends and family that he would have either been in jail or dead. We thought we could make a movie about those two friends and that one week would become a very important week so that became the main idea.”

Is that not the greatest thing ever? Reminds me of a fantastic talk that was given by Mark Duplass a couple of years ago now, that I just can’t stop watching and talking about. See, even though I keep telling myself not to include it here… AGAIN, I’m including it here, AGAIN anyway. It must be good if I want you to see it this badly. (Or I am just that maladjusted.)

Right? Because you are the [email protected]#[email protected] cavalry at that point. Man, Duplass is my hero. But I digress. So Blackshear is all about the ‘include your friends and make something, anything, and just keep making great content’ – school of thought. And it obviously worked because They Look Like People has won a bucket full of awards and trophies for it’s fantastic celluloid. And well they should. Because everything shouldn’t be Iron Man 52. It just isn’t necessary.

But my point in giving you this quote from Blackshear is that he wanted to work with his friends. He wanted to make something great. But he didn’t know what. He put them on planes and got them out to New York not even knowing what it was that he wanted to make. But it was this love for his friends. This deep seeded friendship that carried them into making this fantastic film together. Which, we see bubble onto the screen and bubble throughout their performances on the canvass of this film.

Summing Up They Look Like People

Being someone that isn’t a huge fan of horror films as a genre I absolutely loved the slow-boiling psychological chaos that They Look Like People brought to the table. Even better? I loved the affirmation of friendship and the moral code implicit in this movie. Blackshear has written a film that lifts high the love of others above the love of self. Which is so missing in society today. This was such a fantastic flick. Definitely see it and let Blackshear know he knocked it out of the park with this film. Because, as an independent film maker, he really ought to hear from all of us that we want to keep seeing his movies.

Edited by: CY

Liked it? Take a second to support Taylor Holmes on Patreon!

Related Posts

21 Responses

  1. Lauren Pace

    Oooh. I watched after seeing your rec and I’ve not stopped thinking and dreaming about it for days since. Thank you so much! I’ve been compiling a large list off many, many of your posts after coming here when Coherence( one of my favorites of all time) came out on iTunes. You’re a goldmine, as everything I’ve watched since I have loved, and many I’d already watched, I’ve re-watched and come back to read your thoughts. Truly exceptional.
    Any thoughts on: The Nines, Enemy, The Triangle (2016) ?

    • Taylor Holmes

      Hey there Lauren…
      I think your comment slipped through the cracks somewhere. Happens all the time unfortunately. I do not know The Nines, but it looks sufficiently complex to talk about here for sure! Which I didn’t think Ryan Reynolds capable of… hahah. As for The Enemy, I totally could have sworn I did a review of that movie. It was so very very good. But I cannot find that post anywhere to save my life. Not even unpublished drafts. So weird. And just like that I figured it out. I wrote that post while I was upgrading to new servers and I must have accidentally left it behind. Such a bummer, because that was a very complicated movie to review.

      And The Triangle looks intriguing. A couple of people have mentioned it lately and I always thought they meant the older Triangle. But by putting the year it totally caught me off guard. I just downloaded it, and look forward to watching as my life frees up space. (Yeah, wish me luck!) Thanks Lauren.

    • brenden

      Honestly as a major fan of the horror genre and my favorite being the psychological thrillers; this movie was complete trash and i don’t know how it has the respect nor ratings that it has. It’s literally just an hour of oooh is he gonna kill him? and then he doesn’t. I know there is more to it than that but that’s what it boils down to. Utter disappointment. Very boring and just a bad film/movie overall.

      • Taylor Holmes

        So a successful movie in your opinion is if he had killed him? Walk that one back for me. Because that isn’t daring or even insightful at all. It’s just more Hollywood tripe being repackaged and repurposed for yet another movie. You’ve already seen that movie a million times. Why is it that that is what you are looking for?

        Makes zero sense to me.

  2. Wes

    Glad I watched that one back when it showed up on Amazon months ago.

    Looked terribly interesting and it turned out…yes it was. The movie has a wonderful creepiness factor which it portrays with close-ups and the nervousness that comes waiting what the lead actor or anyone else will do or say in awkward situations.

    Made on a budget of what appears to be $50,000 if that large an amount. Someone got their $’s worth; give me a dozen films like this over your standard “Block-buster” with an outrageous budget and no lasting entertainment value (or to speak of.)

  3. Kimberly

    It wasn’t all that good. I was disappointed that they didn’t take it elsewhere and honestly it was just a big waste of time if anything. I wouldn’t particularly recommend it to anyone. It isn’t groundbreaking. It’s just…boring. I love horror movies, thrillers, all of that – but this was just awful in every conceivable way. I could’ve thought of a better ending. I would’ve liked it more had they gone deeper into his mind and explained the calls, the origin of the story, or even a plot twist in which he was right, that there could be demons among us… But it seemed like a cheap cop out to I don’t know, end it that way with no sense of accomplishment or closure. I just think it could’ve been better. I wasn’t terribly impressed as you seemed to be. Maybe I missed the point?

    • Taylor Holmes

      Hey Kimberly,
      That’s fine. I definitely can understand why most wouldn’t like this movie. Absolutely everything in this movie is deeply under the surface. Implied. So I’m sure that isn’t the best for most. I think most viewers would like everything to be explicitly said out loud and clearly.

      But I loved it. Adored how he killed his girlfriend, went insane, and then was talked down off the cliff. But yeah, that’s not a script that is for everyone.

      • Ryan

        This is so difficult to follow, your review I mean. Why do you write like you are talking? Also why are there so many question sentences? The whole reason for an explanation is to explain, not come up with further questions. Not only that, but your comments are snarky as well.

      • Taylor Holmes

        I write like I am talking, because I am. To you. I am not a movie reviewer – and I actually don’t know what the movie is doing. And to say one does know is the height of hubris. So when I say that I am “explaining” what the movie is about, I am actually wanting to discuss with you what we think the movie is actually about. To come to consensus. To try and grapple with it together. It’s how I do it. And yeah, I am totally not going to be everyone’s favorite. There are a ton of different sites out there that discuss movies. Reddit is probably the biggest location to find people discussing and figuring movies out… not sure what sub-reddit you’d want, but it can’t be too hard to find people discussing movies out there. As for me being snarky. You are right… it’s a fatal flaw built into my DNA. My apologies if my snarkiness offended. But good luck finding the answers you are looking for.


  4. De advocate

    I just watched this. It kept the tension throughout the film so high I wasn’t sure how it was going to resolve. The implications here are so much more terrifying if you have experienced mental illness from any kind of personal level, be it job, a loved one, or yourself. His friend being so supportive was quite something, very powerful. I had to wait for my expectation of the ending to fade to fully appreciate it. Although in real life I would say playing along with someone’s delusions is a very dangerous thing to do, here it works to keep you guessing and also show how just one friend can save you. This works as horror but then blows the doors off the genre by grounding itself so solidly in honesty at the end it could fall into either a psychological case study or possibly humanism.

  5. De Advocate

    Responding to your comment Taylor, I may have to watch it again, but I didn’t think Wyatt killed his girlfriend. I figure he would be either incarcerated or at least in a mental institution for doing that. Not left to roam around with limited psychiatric intervention. I believe it is more hopeful if he didn’t.

    • Taylor Holmes

      Oh I give you that it would be more “hopeful” if he didn’t. But he could have so easily have killed her, not even tried to cover it up, and just headed out. And maybe the moment he steps on screen is just 24 hours after killing her. To be fair, I really did think he didn’t do it until I talked to the actors about it. You saw that post? Maybe it was on this one? Who knows. They were the ones that subtly talked me into thinking he had.

      But the reason why I think he did it, is a stupid one. I think he did it because it makes the ending of this movie all the more poignant. Which, could have been reaffirmed if sirens were in the background as they were hugging at the end. Hahah. But that is the epitome of not-“hopeful”! hahah.

  6. De advocate

    I agree it takes the ending up a notch for tension if he did kill her. But to me the film mixes it’s messages if that is the case. See, the whole time I am trying to figure out if the aliens are real or just in his mind. Then the end turns it all on it’s head. The real beauty for me was he realizes it’s all in his head and doesn’t kill his friend. THAT was what made it so powerful for me. If he killed his girlfriend then it lessens the impact. So what if he didn’t kill his friend, he is still a murderer so the revelation at the end cancels out from a character standpoint. And for me it puts less emphasis on the alien aspect. If you go back through the film knowing the end, it is still powerful because of his internal struggle. If he is already a killer (by murdering his girlfriend) then who cares what happens because he already lost the struggle. It loses impact. So yeah it keeps you on edge because we know he killed before, but it loses from a character development standpoint.

  7. Denvergal

    “Trust me to trust you.” (I’ve known you for so long and I know you so deeply, that I know I can help you get through this. Brotherly love.)

    Hypothetically – but what made Wyatt not kill Christian? The bloody gag falling on the floor? The bewitching hour of 6:00 PM? I didn’t see Wyatt have any breakthrough thought or realization. And maybe, just maybe (and this is out there) Christian didn’t care if he had died but was just fricking relieved that he hadn’t. Hence the close-up of his face at the end. Maybe, could be, just another point of view.

    Convoluted movie but I was really struck by the psychological ties between all the characters (including the deep friendship between Mara and her girlfriend – very subtle). Oh so many more thoughts twirling.

    They Look Like People had a lot more potential but pretty damn good considering how it was made.

  8. Natalia

    So I found your reviews after watching Coherence (your detailed explanation of who does what was really helpful and your commentary was wonderful, by the way)… I noticed your “movies to think” column and, after realizing that you can’t have a much different taste than mine if you put some of my favorite movies there, decided to watch all of them. I just watched They Look Like People and came here to see what you had to say about it. I want to thank you for this review because it made me enjoy the movie a lot more… I was so caught up on the fact that we never found out whether Wyatt was right or not that I didn’t even consider the importance of their relationship and what it all meant. So thank you.

    One more thing, I looked for a review on Mindscape (or Anna, I still don’t know how I should call it) but I couldn’t find one. Have you watched it? I would really like to know what you think of it.

    But anyway, thank you for taking the time to write these.


    A 20 year old with zero friends who understand her love for mind bending movies.

  9. Heyvern

    Some may be disappointed by the promise of a potential horror movie conclusion which never happens.. but… er… uh… Was this just a simple movie about a crazy guy and his visions?

    There was no clear definitive ending. The viewers never truly know the reality of this story due to the fade to black. The ending is only what you decide it was in your own head.

    I think this was strongly influenced by Donnie Darko. Even more than just the sound of the interior voice. Just like Donnie in that other movie, Wyatt is both crazy AND “on to something” at the same time.

  10. KrisAK

    I thought the ending was extremely problematic, as it invites you to question everyone’s approach to the fact of mental illness. (And I don’t see any interpretation other than that he is, in fact, badly in need of help.) Sure, friendship is nice, but when it results in a bottle of sulfuric acid hovering over your head…well, let’s just say that putting yourself in harms way to demonstrate your love for your schizophrenic friend doesn’t enamor me to anyone involved.

    It’s also (I thought) dramatically unsatisfying, in that the action of NOT tipping that bottle of acid is essentially a deux ex machina…not motivated by anything inside the story other than the screenwriter flipping a coin: “heads, he lives; tails, I burn the dude.”

    FWIW, and interesting companion piece might be “I Am Not a Serial Killer”, which has a similar lo-fi production (shot on 16mm film!), and a similar paranoid build up, but which is taken in a very different direction. Highly recommended.

  11. Karen

    I saw this movie recently on Netflix and although I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t call it a “horror” movie in the true sense. I figured out pretty early on that is was more about mental illness and the main character was possibly suffering from schizophrenia. It was more sad than scary to say the least. I appreciated it for what it was and thought it was quite good but it’s not a horror movie.

  12. Bridgette

    I loved this movie! the actors who played Wyatt and Christian we’re extremely believable in their characters of best friends. You can feel the love they have for each other, especially Wyatt’s need to help Christian. I think it was beautifully acted, and the score/ sound effects was instrumental in building and keeping the tension going. It was refreshing to see mental illness portrayed with sensitivity while also showing the emotional devastation that can be a result of it. The ending was terrific. And it’s probably one of the first psychological thrillers that I’ve seen, that along with the huge sigh of relief at the outcome still manages to leave you with a positive message. maybe this comment is totally off the mark about the movie, but this is what I took from it and I would recommend it to anybody who is a fan of a good psychological thriller that keeps you guessing until the end of the film.


Leave a Reply to Taylor Holmes Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.