A Shudder Original review: ‘THEY LIVE IN THE GREY’ feels like a scary and emotional stranglehold.


While investigating a child abuse case, a young social worker discovers that a supernatural entity is tormenting the family. To save the parents from losing custody of their child, she must confront her fears and use her clairvoyance to stop the malevolent force. Written and directed by brothers Burlee and Abel Vang (The Tiger’s Child.) They Live in the Grey stars Michelle Krusiec (Hollywood), Ken Kirby (Good Trouble, Dynasty), Ellen Wroe (For All Mankind, Shameless), Madelyn Grace (Don’t Breathe 2).

In my humble opinion, horror must be enthralling to justify 2-hour runtime. Shudder’s latest original film, They Live In the Grey, earned every minute of screen time with its terrifying plot. Malevolent energies torment Claire, already mired in personal grief. Your heart sits in your throat as you watch her battle demons, both internal and otherwordly. They Live In The Grey is a story of unresolved trauma and redemption that makes your skin crawl.

Michelle Krusiec as Claire is phenomenal. The guilt and terror she carries will break your heart. Seeing a kickass, vulnerable, genuine, and captivating Asian lead is the best. More, please! Watching this film as a parent brought an unrelenting fear and visceral reaction. Krusiec owns every frame. She plays every single beat just right.

A little Sixth Sense and a bit of The Conjuring, the script, penned by our directors The Vang Brothers, has a progression that never ceases to intrigue. (Thank you for a fully-fleshed-out female lead! Huzzah!) Disturbing imagery, gruesome sound editing, and solid special effects makeup will excite the typical genre fan. The overarching melancholy hangs heavy, consuming Claire and the audience. The scares are incredible. A keen eye may spot cleverly placed ghosts in the vain of Mike Flannigan‘s The Haunting of Hill House. They Live In The Grey has honest-to-goodness franchise potential. Shudder, I’m looking at you for an original series greenlight.

Premieres February 17 on Shudder.

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About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

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