One of the offshoots I have come to love of the found footage/faux-umentary subgenre are the ones that deal with urban myths and folktales and the like. There’s something eerie about the ones that are done right because it taps into a collective fear of dark places and whispered histories. We all know those stories, the ones where it’s fourth hand from someone’s someone who heard it from someone else. Stories that try to contextualize something someone didn’t understand or misunderstood and attributed it to something supernatural or hypernatural. I knew a couple who insisted they’d seen Bigfoot on the side of the road as they drove by. They truly believed it.
I am not here to tell her that they were wrong.
But odds are pretty big that they didn’t see Bigfoot.
They saw SOMETHING, but was it really Bigfoot?
I love that.
I love that I can never know because, really, what if they did?
THEY’RE OUTSIDE is of that ilk, a film about a folktale that has so deeply infected an area that the people still take caution in what they do during a certain time of year.
Let’s meet Green Eyes.
THEY’RE OUTSIDE is presented as a faux-umentary that is bringing the last footage of a YouTuber who was trying to help a woman with her rampant agoraphobia. The YouTuber is a man who presents himself as someone steeped in psychology who wants nothing more than to help the public with their issues, though in real life he’s a rather insufferable lout of a man who seems to be willing to bully people into ‘getting better’. The client in this case is a young woman who moved to the small English town she is in to pursue a nursing career and developed agoraphobia not long after. What we find is that one of the reasons she doesn’t want to leave her home though is the fear of a woodland creature that is said to haunt the nearby woods named Green Eyes. Green Eyes has a history in the area and, should he set his sights on you, will do everything he can to bring you into his realm to keep you. The YouTube psychologist doesn’t believe in this folktale though and thinks that she just needs encouragement and support to get ‘over’ her fear. As the daily sessions progress though more and more strange occurrences start to make the man wonder if he’s being put on and that this is all a game to the woman and her close friend or if there is something more going on than he wants to believe.
The set up here is great. I honestly, and this isn’t a dig so much as a wish, I wish that that this was more of a faux-umentary than it is. They do a lead in that is really effective and then just throw it into the footage and then ends and it would have been great to have more analysis into things. They do break outs from time to time but I think it needed a wrap up to really sell things more. The set-up is good though. The acting is well done. The presentation is good. It’s well shot and sticks to the format really well. There is little to no shaky cam shenanigans. Overall, it’s a well-done movie.
ALAS, the movie just loses its steam.
The set-up, as well done as it is, gets convoluted as there are things that happen that we are not privy too but which we are told about. As much work as they do to set up Green Eyes, it just doesn’t seal the deal at the end. It does a good attempt, but they want to make it a real, creepy presence but I just never felt it was a presence of terror. The myth also, scary as it is, doesn’t coalesce very well. The ending is so messy and doesn’t really feel like it follows the rest of the film. It’s surely not a bad film, it just fell apart for me in the climax.
I loved the setting here, loved the folklore, and like how they were presenting it. A crummy lead character though that you don’t care about, some really weird turns in the story, and a finale that just happens but doesn’t feel like it has impact sorta pull this taffy apart. It’s just under 90 minutes so it doesn’t overstay its welcome but it still felt like it drags.
You might dig this.
There are definitely far worse found footage films out there and it may just scratch that found folklore itch.
2.75 out of 5
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