Unemployed laborer John suspects there is something strange going on at a nearby church and while investigating, stumbles upon sunglasses that allow him to see the world as it really is. Now seeing the subliminal message embedded in everything around him it isn’t long before he realizes most yuppie consumers are actually aliens!
Roddy Piper (John), Keith David (Frank), Meg Foster (Holly), George Flower (Drifter), Peter Jason (Gilbert), Raymond St. Jacques (Street Preacher), Jason Robards III (Family Man), John Lawrence (Bearded Man).
They Live starts off a bit slow with a fair amount of plot setup and character development but once John finds the magic sunglasses and the consumer parody begins things get a lot more fun. As John begins to understand what is going on around him, and tries to show Frank what the real world is like, the film begins to move at a much better pace through the end. Director John Carpenter, in one of his earlier works here, shows why he became so popular.
Acting was mediocre in this one. Piper obviously put a lot of effort into his performance but just doesn’t quite have the charisma needed for the big screen. David did okay but was also a bit lacking of energy. The remainder of the supporting cast felt lukewarm throughout the film.
Camera work, sets, and backgrounds are nicely done lending a solid feel to the film. Effects were a bit elementary but fit the film well and were good enough to create an entertaining impact. Dialogue was okay but could have added more to the film. Sound and soundtrack were nicely done.
Overall They Live is a fun stab at consumerism hidden in the wrapper of a sci-fi alien flick. Sci-fi fans, particularly those who enjoy a good conspiracy theory, will likely enjoy this one the most.
With some foul language, violence, nudity, and sexuality this should be fine for older teens and above.
Star rating: 3 out of 5
copyright ©2011 Dave Riedel
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