{Movie Review}They’re Outside Review – Another Reason Not To Leave The House

They’re Outside is a psychological horror movie centered around the existence of a series of corrupted Youtube videos. It is directed by Airell Anthony Hayles and Sam Casserly in a found footage format and retrospective documentary medium. They’re Outside originally premiered at August 2020’s Fright Fest.

They’re Outside is Found Footage For Agoraphobics

Off the bat this movie works with very familiar territory when it comes to the horror genre, found footage serving as the common and popular trading card in any child of Paranormal Activity or Blair Witch’s roster these days, but what seemingly gives They’re Outside an exciting edge that triumphs over unoriginality is a handful of core themes and driving motivations.

“Agoraphobia.” Is the theme and the word most said and later fumbled by another character in the film, as Max Spencer (Tom Wheatley), a Youtube Pseudo-Psychologist (I say pseudo as his practices are rather… confrontational) seeks to cure a housebound Sarah (Christine Randall) of her illness once and for all in his new series of videos. Although these past methods have worked for Max before, hence the mild success of his channel, a dimension of difficulty is added to this undertaking when local Sussex legend “Green-Eyes” adds some complications in the (very shouty) cognitive behavioral therapy he offers up to the woman he intends to cure. 

A Little More of the Backstory Please

Even with all this surmised, while the premise is interesting and the central theme of the movie widely deployed, The film is not without some issues. To give it some credit, the scary scenes are frightening (the wrapped up windows of Sarah’s house are a nice touch) and the backstory of the local legend is admirably thought out and charming as hell, but there are still a glaring and sizeable amounts of missing exposition to They’re Outside making it difficult to fully sympathize with the characters or understand their actions at times.

From the breathy Chrissy Randall as Sarah, who’s every line seems hastily whispered from the get-go, to the constantly unhinged depiction of a sleazy psychologist; clearly out of his depth, there appears to be so much interesting back story that They’re Outside could have paused to linger on, instead of charging through the story without mercy for the the audience. A rarity these days I actually wanted the film to be a bit longer, not unlike another more popular movie.

An example of this would have been Max’s Youtube career, as part of They’re Outside it is a basic satire of the invasion of privacy online hacks we have grown accustomed (the quote from Max on his patient: “If she starts freaking out, turn the camera off, or at least pretend to” coming to mind), and so an expansion or perhaps even capitalization on this would not have proven tone deaf in a movie with some jokes that were more on the nose.

Unfortunately, too much of really anything, even the background legend of Green-Eyes himself, is glossed over, and instead a speedy romance and tragic backstory is forced into the film instead. Yet one can not live on hard-to-parse and insane plot-rabbits alone when lost in the woods, and They’re Outside serves as a moving image testification.

They’re Outside Has Potential But Mostly Remains Locked Up

In the end, the psychologist is hard to root for as half the time he’s Jack Torrance from The Shining, raging on a mentally fragile woman, and then when we look to the mentally fragile woman in question, a real sufferer from her condition in this movie, it’s hard to feel anything for her, as her constant spacey interruptions and Scooby Doo-esque Did-You-Hear-That’s serve purely to convince the audience to root for old Green-Eyes to do a heck of a lot more than just knock.

Perhaps, with a bigger budget and more of a stylish visual direction instead of shaky camera work (a beloved staple in the found footage genre, but only welcome after so much dark blur and “what am I looking at?”) They’re Outside would have become the Sussex nightmare of our dreams, the movie we so craved when we read the synopsis on Wikipedia and sat down for an Autumnal watch. It has interesting things to say, and offers something something interesting in its monster. If They’re Outside had kept to those ideas it could have been great.