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Sounds like a B-movie; plays like a masterfully directed horror yarn.

  • May 1, 2011
Rating:
+4
***1/2 out of ****

"Them" is a smart film that hits all the right notes. It works as both an ingenious thriller and a riveting horror film. It plays with our love of fear, tension, and thrills; and delivers all three in one successful blow. There have been critics who hated or just didn't find this film entertaining, although take it from me, this is one of the best horror films you're likely to see (from the past decade). In short, if you want honest thrills, then see "Them". It is intelligent, smart, and has a beating heart. Even if that heart is one which is seldom seen.

Horror is in the eye of the beholder, although you need to have horrors which can scare the majority of movie-goers. That is, if they are intelligent movie-goers. For instance, "Them" scares me because of its concept early on in the film: terror that strikes, frightens, but cannot be seen. Horror that does not show itself is some of the best horror, and "Them" knows what its doing when it comes to this.

This film doesn't care too much about its plotting, but more-so its atmosphere. Yet, it has a plot, it has characters, and it feels like a movie overall. The story concerns a couple who wake up one night to noises outside. Noises which sound like people pounding at the walls, windows, and doors. Noises that sound like dogs barking at nothing. Voices…sounds. This creates automatic tension for the movie, and it makes the ride worthwhile. There were certainly some moments where people could find this movie boring, slow, and lame; but I find it compelling, rich, and so very well-made. It's not about the story; it's about what this film achieves on a technical level.

In terms of sheer craft, "Them" is spectacular; once again proving that the French can make fast-paced, exciting, tense horror films for the new cinematic age. This is one of the best I've seen, in that case. I do believe that some others will think it is as well-made, technically crafty, and superbly directed as I do, but there will also be those who think it is corny, cheesy, and worth the ol' "skip".

However, this movie is great. The cinematography is flawless. The direction; awesome, and this could mean something for the filmmakers and their future. The film is not violent when it comes to its horrors, since as I mentioned before, little is shown. Some say the film needs a better villain; it resembles John Carpenter's "The Fog" in many ways. But what is a good villain for a horror film? Murderous cannibals? Sadistic serial killers? That's what people seem to think nowadays, and that's why horror films are failing on a critical level. How else can you judge them?

I know people who hate horror films, but this is one that they should see. It does not show too much, or too little; and it does not stop to hesistate when it comes to scares and thrills. Yes, some sequences may drag on for longer than most would prefer, but this is far from the bad movie that some seem to think it is. I won't tell you not to listen to the haters, since to you, they may be right. But consider my approach to the material, and consider how I viewed it. As far as horror films with incredibly un-inventive titles that sound like corny B-movies go, this is one of the best. It surprised me, shocked me, and scared me; I admire its ability to do any one of the three. Since it does all of them, there's a lot to look at here. This is art; high art, even. Not for everyone, but if you take the time to see what was attempted and achieved here, then you will see that "Them" is actually pretty darn good.

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More Them (ILS) reviews
review by . March 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
An Intense THRILL RIDE Based On True Events In ROMANIA...
   My trusted reviewers were split on this French/Romanian fright flick. They have all presented their arguments and justified their reasons for liking or disliking this film credibly. My friends have been split down the middle when it came to this movie; seems like half of my friends liked it while the other half just didn‘t care for it. I decided to check it out seeing as I like controversy when I find it intriguing.     THEM (Ils) is a French/Romanian …
review by . July 21, 2009
Running a scant 77 minutes, Them (or Ils in its native French) is a shining example of horror cinema done right. It’s a taut and suspenseful stalker film that takes about fifteen minutes setting things up and then jumps right into the crux of the narrative without ever letting up, giving the audience a chance to catch their breath, or wasting our time with telegraphed jump scares or meaningless filler subplots. In a world where horror cinema seems to be obsessed with how much gore and torture …
review by . August 06, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Just for kicks, THEY make noises in the night; they surround, they torment, they threaten, they hurt. "Them" tells the apparently true story of a seemingly banal evil that terrorized locals in a rural area outside of Bucharest, Romania. Rather than gore and exploitation, the filmmakers make inventive use of their camera and lighting and shadows and sound to create a serious atmosphere of dread. It works, and gave me the same chills I had watching The Blair Witch Project for the first time: a sense …
review by . April 06, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
French couple Clementine (Olivia Bonamy) and Lucas (Michael Cohen) are living near Bucharest, Romania. Clementine teaches at a French school and Lucas is a writer trying to work on his latest story but is struggling with writer's block. One a night in the middle of October a mother and daughter are involved in a car accident near where Clementine and Lucas are living. They are safe after the crash, but the mother disappears and the daughter is later strangled in the car. Clementine passes the accident …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #3
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Lucas and Clementine live peacefully in their isolated country house, but one night they wake up to strange noise... they're not alone... and a group of hooded assailants begin to terrorize them throughout the night.

Writers & Director: David Moreau
Xavier Palud
 

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Details

Director: Xavier Palud
Genre: Action, Adventure, Horror
Release Date: August 3, 2007
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: Mar. 25, 2008
Runtime: 1hr 18min
Studio: Dark Sky Films
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