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They/Them Film Ending Explained

The ending of They/Them shows the campers escaping the conversion camp, with Jordan choosing forgiveness over revenge. Angie, the masked killer, kills Owen, the camp director.

They/Them is a 2022 slasher horror film directed by John Logan. Set in a gay conversion camp, it follows a group of LGBTQ+ teens navigating their identities while facing a serial killer. The film has a unique premise and tackles serious issues within the LGBTQ+ community.

Plot Overview

They/Them begins with a masked murderer killing a woman named Molly on her way to Whistler Camp. The camp is run by Owen Whistler, played by Kevin Bacon, and staffed by a manipulative therapist, a camp nurse named Molly, and two counselors. The campers include Alexandra, a transgender woman, and Jordan, a transgender non-binary person. Owen promises not to force the attendees to change, but he quickly begins to torment them. As the staff’s torment increases, so do the deaths, leading to a final confrontation.

The film’s setting in a conversion camp adds a layer of horror beyond the slasher elements. Conversion camps are real and harmful, making the film’s premise both terrifying and thought-provoking. The campers’ struggle against the camp’s oppressive tactics mirrors real-life struggles faced by many in the LGBTQ+ community.

Key Characters and Their Arcs

Jordan

Jordan is the protagonist, a non-binary person who resists the camp’s attempts to force them into a gender binary. From the start, Jordan rejects the camp’s manipulative tactics. Their journey is one of self-acceptance and empowerment, culminating in a decision that defines the film’s core message.

Owen Whistler

Owen is the camp’s director, presenting himself as a “nice guy” but revealed to be manipulative and cruel. He represents the oppressive forces the campers must resist. His ultimate fate is a significant turning point in the film.

Molly/Angie

Initially introduced as a sympathetic camp nurse, Molly is later revealed to be Angie, a former camper and victim of Owen’s aversion therapy techniques. Her character arc is one of vengeance, as she seeks to rid the world of conversion camps.

Thematic Elements

Gender Conformity and Nonconformity

The film explores the pressures of gender conformity and the empowerment that comes from rejecting these pressures. Jordan’s refusal to conform to the camp’s gender binary is a central theme.

Queer Empowerment

The film aims to empower its LGBTQ+ characters, showing them as resilient and capable of overcoming oppressive forces. This is exemplified in the film’s ending, where the campers escape the camp without resorting to violence.

Revenge and Forgiveness

The film juxtaposes the themes of revenge and forgiveness. While Angie seeks revenge against Owen, Jordan chooses a path of forgiveness and progress, refusing to let the camp’s cruelty change who they are.

Ending Explained

The climax occurs when Angie, revealed as the masked killer, confronts Owen. She plans to kill him to eliminate conversion camps. However, Jordan intervenes, refusing to kill Owen despite Angie’s insistence. Instead, Angie kills Owen by pushing him into a wall with a rhino head, impaling him. Angie is then arrested, and the campers reflect on their experiences.

Jordan’s Choice

Jordan’s decision not to kill Owen is pivotal. It reflects their desire to live life on their terms, with kindness and forgiveness, even towards those who sought to destroy them. This choice underscores the film’s message of hope and resilience, as Jordan and the other campers refuse to let their traumatic experiences define them.

Final Scene

The final scene shows a content ending for most campers. Kim and Veronica plan to come out to Kim’s parents together, while Toby and Stu are also in a relationship. Jordan plans to get emancipated and live life on their terms. This ending reinforces the film’s message of self-acceptance and empowerment, as the campers move forward with their lives, free from the camp’s oppressive influence.

Critical Reception

They/Them has received mixed reviews. Some praise the film for its unique premise and attempt to tackle serious issues within the LGBTQ+ community. Others criticize it for its lack of clear voice and tone. The film’s attempt to blend horror, drama, and musical elements has been described as uneven, with some noting it fails to deliver the scares expected from a slasher film.

Conclusion

They/Them blends horror with social commentary, focusing on the experiences of LGBTQ+ teens at a conversion camp. The film’s ending is uplifting and empowering, though it leaves some questions unanswered. Jordan’s choice to reject violence and embrace forgiveness is central, reflecting the film’s message of hope and resilience. Despite mixed reception, They/Them contributes to the ongoing conversation about queer representation in horror films.

References

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