I've seen a few paranormal movies which have been made for TV and as a rule I've been unimpressed, poorly acted, cliche driven and totally obvious has been a few of my criticisms. But then "They Come Back" appears and whilst it's not the most original of movies, okay so it employs a lot of cliches, it is actually remarkably solid and more importantly not laughable. In fact that is not doing "They Come Back" justice because whilst it pushes the limits of believability it does a good job of tying everything we learn together which is a bit of a surprise.
Following a car accident which killed both her parents young Marley Charles (Niamh Wilson - Saw III) has been staying with her Uncle Mason (Jonathan Watton) and housekeeper Mrs. Carr (Rosemary Dunsmore) but has not only become withdrawn but doing some strange things. Desperate to help her Mason persuades psychologist Faith Hardy (Mia Kirshner - Not Another Teen Movie) to see her and hopefully help but Faith herself is haunted by a previous case which she feels she failed on.
Now being a TV movie you have to accept certain things and that is ugly people don't exist, so the fact that we have Mason tracking down cute and hot psychologist Faith Hardy to help with his recently orphaned niece is one of those things you have to accept. But get beyond this little bit of believability issue and we have an intriguing storyline because following a car crash which killed her parents young Marley has been acting strange, strange in the fact she is hearing voices and experiencing paranormal activity such as objects moving happen around her. Okay so it is a cliche that we have a child being the channel for dead people but it is well worked because the freaky stuff going on is freaky without being too scary, remember we are talking a TV movie here and one which is daytime viewing.
Now you have to go with things because having charmed Faith into helping with Marley we have mystery surrounding her. There is Faith's reluctance to speak with her mum and also her reluctance to treat Marley having given up practicing some time earlier following an incident with a previous young girl she was treating. So we have the mystery of Faith and the mystery of Marley and it won't come as a surprise when I say these two seemingly unrelated mysteries end up interlinking. But because all the little clues we witness, the face in the water which Marley sees, the Dictaphone which magically moves all end up tying in to the story it makes it feel well thought out.
It is very much a case that everything we learn a long the way, including the mystery over housekeeper Mrs. Carr's dislike of Faith, all being pivotal to the ending. And here is the good thing because whilst you may work out how Marley and Faith's story interweave the way everything else interlinks to deliver the ending is a surprise. Although typically being a TV movie the final scenes after all the mystery is solved is a little bit cheesy.
Now I am not saying that psychologist can't be hot or cute but it does seem that Mia Kirshner has been cast as Faith partly because she looks good. Having said that she also acts the part well delivering a pleasant caring side to the way she interacts with Marley, which actually makes sense when you learn about Faith's own mystery and the reason she gave up practising. And young Niamh Wilson does a nice job of playing Marley especially the element of fear as she has to deal with the voices and paranormal activity which has dominated her life since the death of her parents. And Kirshner and Wilson work well together, maybe not in a patient and psychologist sense but in that you sense a trust forming between their characters.
What this all boils down to is that "They Come Back" is a pleasant surprise considering this is a paranormal TV movie, a genre which on previous experience is prone to sucking. It may not rival big budget paranormal movies but does feature one of the solidest scripts I have seen for a TV movie with every element coming together to create a complete story even if it does veer towards being too far fetched.