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I didn't know anything about this film going into it, except that it was a French horror film that had received some good reviews. And that was the perfect way to see this film. I'll try to give away as little as possible, talk only about the filmmaking, and little about the plot. Not that there's a whole lot of plot to talk about. It's pretty much a young couple spending a night at home, when they're attacked for no reason. I haven't seen it yet, but it looks an awful lot like the recent American horror film The Strangers, which I haven't found any connection between the two.

The film is almost the perfect example of good suspense. Nearly the entire film is suspenseful. It starts with a young girl and her mom, broken-down on the side of the road, they hear some weird noises outside their mini-van, you're not quite sure what's going on outside of the van, but it sounds creepy. The photography, the editing and the sound design, draw you into this minimalist situation and it really bugs you out. Soon they're dead, and we're following Clementine, who we'll stay with for the rest of the film.

She goes home to her large country house, has a quiet dinner with her husband and they're off to bed. Not a lot is said between them, but their silence and body language leads us to believe that not everything is okay between them. Which quickly becomes an afterthought when, in the middle of the night, they're attacked by unknown persons.
The rest of the film is spent with Clementine and her husband Lucas being chased around by an couple of thugs, who attack them with a variety of household weapons. They're chased through the house, through the attic, through the woods outside the house, then finally through a sewer system. We're never really given a reason why, it's simply happening, which makes it all that much more realistic and sickening to think about. The who is eventually revealed, and it's quite a surprising shock.

isn't a perfect horror film, there's not enough character development to make you truly care about Clementine and Lucas, maybe if they'd spent another 5 to 10 minutes letting us get to know them as people, it would helped us get more involved. But if you really just want to be creeped out by some nearly technically perfect suspense scenes; long stretches of silence, puncutated by something horrible, this is a wonderful film. The film has the best keyhole scene ever made, perfect in its execution. It has almost no score, relying on the sound of the attackers chasing these two. There's minimal dialog, once the chase begins, there's little more than screaming. And although the film was shot digitally, it has a gritty, 70's aesthetic to it. This isn't a horror film for those who want something typically Hollywood, this is a film for true horror fans, those that can appreciate something different. - Grade: B (Seen on 7/20/08)

3 Responses to Them / ils:

  1. I watched Them on a recommendation from someone around the time The Strangers came out. I loved the first 2/3 and disliked the last act.

  1. Nice Review for a Great movie!

  1. I watched both and have to say Them is far superior. Not many people like the ending, but at least it was different. Compared to "Because they were home" motive of The Strangers, Them had some nice jump scares and a very eerie feel.

    All The Strangers had was the guy from Underworld telling Liv Tyler every 10 minutes to "RUN!" or "HIDE!"

    the jaded viewer