THEY REACH (2020)
Directed by Sylas Dall
Written by Sylas Dall, Bry Troyer
Starring Mary Madaline Roe, Morgan Chandler, Eden Campbell, Kyan Zielinski, Elizabeth Rhoades, Ash Calder, Frederick Floyd, Taylor Bartle, Damian Vines, Adrienne Jordan, Steffanie Foster Gustafson, Eric Schmidt, Kara Puerschner, Tyler Timm, Tony Gee, Jason Heishman, Landon Shepard, Tim Schrup, Bry Troyer, Philip Roe
Find out more about this film here!!
A spunky and intelligent young girl with an interest in science named Jessica (Mary Madaline Roe) stumbles upon a tape player possessed by a demon. When she accidentally cuts herself and gets blood on the tape player, it reactivates the demonic presence and begins possessing her family. This leaves it up to Jessica, her possible future boyfriend Sam (Morgan Chandler) and her oddball gal pal Cheddar (Eden Campbell) to figure out how to dispel the demons and try to fix all of the damage they have caused in time for the spring dance.
Yes, I know this sounds like a GOOSEBUMPS episode and on one level, yes, this feels like a really good GOOSEBUMPS or ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? Episode. But despite the fact that the protagonists are teens trying to sleuth out a demon, there are some surprisingly adult things going on including a ton of swears and a whole lot of goriness going on. Blood is smeared and spattered in all directions here as demons attack friends, family, and random police. The story itself maty focus on a younger crowd, but its telling a story that feels much more sophisticated. Filmmaker Sylas Dall delivers a wonky adventure that feels like it’s trying to be very Amblin-esque and while it was made on a fraction of what those old Amblin flicks, it captures the tone as these kids are most definitely in real peril. While there are tons of swears, it’s nothing kids most likely don’t already know. And while there’s plenty of gore, it’s pretty much just goop thrown into people’s faces and isn’t on the offensive or gratuitous side.
I laughed quite a bit at THEY REACH. These are kids that talk like real kids. Mary Madaline Roe is decent in the lead role of Jessica and makes a protagonist worth rooting for. I was thoroughly entertained by the off the wall antics of Cheddar, played by Eden Campbell, who sort of lives on a different plane than the rest of the people in the film. Out of all of the actors in THEY REACH, Campbell is the one I see rising to star status as she has great comic timing and isn’t afraid to do unorthodox things to get a laugh.
THEY REACH even has some strong suspenseful moments that morph into some downright terrifying scenes. There are numerous scenes that will make you squirm and laugh at the dreadful lengths this film will go for. While I found the end to be a bit of a cop-out, the film leading up to it was undeniably enjoyable. I think THEY REACH would be a film horror fans young and old can enjoy together.