They Live in the Grey review – dead people get seen in artful poltergeist chiller | Movies

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They Live in the Grey is another classy effort on the Shudder streaming platform, properly scary and thoughtfully constructed, with unusual editing and framing sleights of hand, co-directed by Hmong-American brothers Abel and Burlee Vang. But Grey also serves an emotionally devastating study of grief, one anchored by a wrenching lead performance from Michelle Krusiec, who plays a social worker Claire Yang. Claire is assigned to investigate a case of possible domestic abuse involving a pre-adolescent girl named Sophie (Madelyn Grace) living in a tense home with parents Audrey (Ellen Wroe, excellent) and Arthur (Bernard Bullen); Claire starts to see the ghost (Mercedes Manning) of a woman whose poltergeisting may be the cause of Sophie’s bruises. Claire has always been able to see dead people, like the kid in The Sixth Sense, which must be terrible stress as the dead walk up to her thinking they’re still alive even though they have, say, a massive head wound or blood draining out of their wrists.

On top of all that, she’s still dealing with the pain of her own young son’s death a year earlier, for which she blames herself. The details are left troublingly vague until the end, so as to introduce a little doubt about Claire’s own mothering skills, especially since the loss seems to have opened up a rift between her and her policeman husband (Ken Kirby). The Vang brothers adeptly weave the various subplots together to both offer a sense of closure and also satisfy genre fans, with the obligatory lashings of gore and a bitter, metallic aftertaste in its troubling portrait of a motherhood gone wrong.

But in a way the film’s best bits are the quiet scenes where the audience is primed to expect something awful is about to happen, only to find the point is not a jump scare but a harrowing emotional insight. There’s a scene, for example, where Claire lies in bed pretending to sleep as her husband comes back from a shift and crawls in beside her, the whole sequence shot in deep focus. The point is that she’s actually more terrified of opening up about the pain inside her, examining it and letting it go, than she is of any of the ectoplasmic visions she has daily. You can also find the movie link on Desire Movie Download

 

They Live in the Grey is available on 17 February on Shudder.

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