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Them (Ils) Reviews

Page 1 of 71
John M

Super Reviewer

May 11, 2008
A horror film but not. When the ending hits it makes the terror so much more shocking in my opinion.
Edward B

Super Reviewer

January 11, 2012
From the opening kill sequence, Them sets up a rule that it will maintain straight through its 76 minute running time: the ability for the victims to see their attackers is limited to the sides of the frame. The rule works to set up suspense, but in a practical standpoint, it creates a ridiculous amount of illogical sequences where any real person, including the blind, could see the killers coming from a mile away.
Writer/directors David Moreau and Xavier Palud have decided to stand apart from their extremely gory French horror art house siblings, opting for a more Hitchcockian approach where very little violence happens onscreen and most of the film's suspense comes from the long, stretched out periods of silence before the onslaught. This is perhaps the film's greatest strength, and its first 40 minutes continue the promise of a unique, edge of your seat home invasion thriller. And then as the final act slowly approaches, things go awry.
Clementine (Olivia Bonamy) and Lucas (Michael Cohen) play a young married couple new to Bucharest. They find a secluded home where they can have peace and quiet. Problem: Who in their right mind buys a big house in the middle of nowhere especially when they're new to the country? Maybe they have their reasons, but the film never explains why they decide to do this, and I can't relate to it because anyone I know who's moved to Toronto from another country has bought a place in the heart of the city, or as close to their work as possible. Without any reason, this secluded farm house seems too much like a horror movie cliche.
But forget about that. Home invasion movies almost always involve busted phone lines, power outages and a chase into the woods, and Them is no different. As mentioned before, the killers are rarely seen onscreen, yet they're everywhere and anywhere. But unless you're in a horror movie, I don't know how you can stand alone in the middle of the woods, quietly look around, and not hear someone come up behind you. Leaves and twigs make a lot of noise. The fight or flight paradigm that Clementine and Lucas find themselves in becomes more of a fight against physics and logic. I can't see how killers can know every nook and cranny of a house better than the tenants. I really feel for these characters because the script has found every contrived way to stack the odds against their chance of survival, so Them becomes more of an exercise in plot manipulation than minimalist horror.
FiLmCrAzY
FiLmCrAzY

Super Reviewer

April 20, 2009
Don't know why i wanted to watch this movie but it seriously wasnt worth my time.
It wasnt a good horror at all, and i just didnt find it at all enjoyable.
The Gandiman
The Gandiman

Super Reviewer

January 7, 2010
Relentless and fun drive to ultimately a disappointing and absurd destination
ScoopOnline
ScoopOnline

Super Reviewer

December 8, 2009
I was expecting some nice creepy scenes.
bbcfloridabound
bbcfloridabound

Super Reviewer

October 10, 2009
This is a great movie, its not one that has gotten a lot of press. Reminded me of something from the 8 fikms to die for series. The opening scene with mother and daughter didn't seem to make much sense to the rest of the film, based on true events a couple living in a huge house are terrorized by a group of children in there home. Will keep you on edge the whole time. Have to give it 5 stars been a while since a horror movie has gotten that from me.
Cassandra M

Super Reviewer

May 26, 2009
Them is a low-key, low-budget suspense thriller from France that strives to tap into the current mind-set of contemporary horror cinema, post-Blair Witch, by opening with a spurious "based on actual events" caption that brings to mind the similarly counterfeit claims made by films such as Hostel, Wolf Creek and the big-budget Hollywood remakes of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes. We know by now that these statements are cynical and exploitative attempts to get people talking, and to also give a greater sense of dramatic worth to a genre that can quite often become bogged down in a mire of predictability and cliché.

That said the film is far superior to any of the films aforementioned, mostly because of the fact that it jettisons blood and guts in favour of subtle shocks and an anxious atmosphere of foreboding dread. Really, it's quite a refreshing change, especially considering the fact that REAL horror isn't about what you see, but what you don't see; a notion that is best exemplified by the pre-credit sequence in which a mother and her teenage daughter stall their car on a lonely stretch of country lane and are fittingly attacked by an unseen foe that emerges from the darkened woodland surroundings like a ghost! It's really an amazing sequence of pure tension, and one that sets up the central threat of the narrative before we're even introduced to the hero and heroine who will feature throughout the subsequent 60-odd minutes of drama (the film is a slender 78 minutes long in total).

So, despite the average rating (we'll come to that later), I must admit that for the most part I found this the film to be incredibly effective; with the bare-bones of the plot focusing on a thirty-something teacher and her struggling-writer boyfriend secluded at a remote and run-down mansion just outside of Bucharest. One evening, the couple are woken by the sound of activity coming from the grounds of the house and when they go out to investigate; they discover their car being stolen by an unseen assailant. The couple immediately phone the police - and can't get through to their messaging service (WTF?) - but it's really only a matter of time before the echoing sounds of footsteps clomping, doors being rattled and bizarre and threatening alien-like noises return and begin to penetrate the deathly silence of night.

I suppose if you wanted to make comparisons, then Them is fairly close in tone to films like that other French horror thriller, High Tension (Switchblade Romance here in the UK) and Michael Haneke's po-faced home-invasion-themed satire Funny Games, with the odd nod to Last House on the Left, Panic Room and The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael. The filmmakers effectively utilise their low-budget by staging much of the film in a single location and with only the two principal actors, with the antagonists going unseen for at least 90% of the film (again, this proves the rule that the scariest stuff is the stuff you never see, which is further proved by the laughable moments that happen towards the end).

Here is where my problem with the film begins; with the last ten minutes introducing something of a plot-twist (although I'm not quite sure it's as obvious as that) that for me rendered much of the proceeding action farcical and highly unbelievable. It also makes us question the decisions made by our two protagonists, with fear and the survival instinct being replaced by blind stupidity. I don't want to give too much away, but the initial theft of the car takes place (according to the digital clock in the bedroom) at 3:45 am. For me, it would have made more sense to lock myself in the bathroom with a heavy object placed behind the door and wait there with a collection of kitchen knives until the early hours of daylight; rather than running off into the darkened woodland as we see here. There was also another aspect of the film that bothered me slightly (something fairly rife in contemporary horror/suspense cinema) but I won't go into it here (for obvious reasons).

These flaws (call them plot holes or implausibility's if you must) kind of spoiled the overall flow of this film for me, which is a great shame, as for the most part this was a five star thriller. I don't even mind the ideas suggested by the final plot reveal, but rather the way it seems tacked on in order to generate a topical talking point. It comes out of nowhere, and although this does make for a great last minute surprise, it shows that the directors were more concerned with being clever, rather than delivering a solid, thought-provoking and plausible horror/thriller.

Still, taken on the basis of its first 60 minutes, and the individual scenes that make up the greater whole, this is still an enjoyable if not entirely successful little film that is sure to guarantee a number of thrills, chills and edge of your seat moments of pure, white-knuckle tension; even if the final moments do show it up to be as dodgy and inconsistent as the majority of similarly themed films from Hollywood and the UK. Certainly worth renting.
Eric S

Super Reviewer

April 26, 2009
This is a creepy French film reminiscent of The Strangers, scenery comparable to what's used in High(Haute)Tension, and a flavor of it's own giving it an amount of unique suspense.
The film is based on true events, and is something that we all don't expect, but conceive horrific ideas of what may arise from generations on the uprise.
Brian D

Super Reviewer

August 9, 2008
Truely creepy and trunt little french movie.Watch this before the hollywood movie The Strangers and than decied.I did like the ending to this was a lilttle shocker.
_kelly .

Super Reviewer

July 6, 2008
A movie that really creeped *me* out at points and also has virtually NO BLOOD in it. This has been recommended to me many times, and I can see why as it is so tightly edited and directed for real jumpscare flair, not cheap out-of-nowhere jumpscares, but those really good ones where you anticipate the jump scare to come at a particular moment and the film then fucks with your head by doing the jumpscare just a little after or before the expected effect. I also love the "look what we snuck into the shot" moments, where a subtle element you may not recognize at first is soon identified as a hooded intruder or attacking limb. I know this is a great horror movie, because throughout it, I am earnestly thinking of how I would react (first thought revealed my American bias: 'where are these people's shotguns and revolvers?') though I can't relate to the victims on any superficial levels (besides the guy being a writer). SPOLIER People tout the ending as a "twist"; it's not but rather an interesting detail that makes the story even scarier and reveals to the audience their own ageist biases.
vieras e

Super Reviewer

July 5, 2008
The first hour is surprisingly unsettling (I've had nightmares like that), but the surprise twist in the end totally ruins the mood.
Drew S

Super Reviewer

May 13, 2008
Eh, nothing special. There's a reason that horror isn't exactly France's main cinema output - they just don't seem to do it well. I admire the spareness of the plot, the occasional tense sequences, and the movie's refusal to go all High Tension on us with a shitty twist, but what Ils really amounts to is a bunch of anticipatory setups and wandering down halls. Remember how well that worked in Suspiria? (Most would disagree with me there, but they're clowns.) What makes this worse is that we spend half of the movie seeing little from the assailants except that they are, apparently, disembodied hoodies and flashlights. This is a reasonably effective, well-directed short story of a horror movie that I just didn't find too scary.

What can I say? There's nothing to this movie. I'm almost inclined to increase the rating simply because it's so short - you really have nothing to lose by watching it.
Beefy
Beefy

Super Reviewer

September 10, 2007
Never quite as suspenseful or involving as all of the hype led me to believe it would be, but the end reveal still hit me hard and the last shot is downright haunting.
shauna1354
shauna1354

Super Reviewer

February 10, 2008
Suprising, thrilling, a tense French horror film. Them (Ils) is definately above a lot of the usual hollywood horror tripe that has been released in the past few years. But that still doesn't cover up the disappointment I felt after watching this. It begins quite predictably but then quickly delves into a fast-paced edge-of-seat thriller.
The jumpy parts of the film aren't very unique and are to be expected by the viewer, this triggered the fact that the films isn't as brilliant as I had heard it to be.
Them is well acted and provides nervy entertainment, definately better than most corny slasher films. The most disturbing thing about the film is the fact that it is based on true events that occured in 2002. It's worth a view but don't expect a revelation in the horror genre.
Luke B

Super Reviewer

December 15, 2007
A wonderfully chilling and simply horror. It's short and sweet and certainly has some relevence to today with all those scummy bastard kids waltzing the streets. Heavily reliant on sound, this is all about what you don't see. Goes from being scary to very creepy and has a bleak ending that leaves you very morbid.
Ken S

Super Reviewer

March 27, 2007
Holy scary is this movie awesome
gor41
gor41

Super Reviewer

July 20, 2007
Old school chiller with carefully cultivated atmosphere of dred. Great sound design. Short but delivers an intriguing ending.
Dr Blood  

Super Reviewer

June 20, 2007
The action is real edge-of-your-seat stuff which doesn't let up until the end. Until the final 10 minutes you don't really see or find out who the "them" are. What makes it worse is that it's all very believable!
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