Reviewed by: Chris

Them is a fairly standard horror film, with phones that ring with no one on the other end, things that go bump, thump, scrape or squelch in the night, thunderstorms and an isolated house, and yet it has a contemporary twist at the end. The cliches will maybe not deter fans of the genre, for which there is an established market, however many critics label it as derivative. The shocks are delivered on time, and the clever ending (with a twist on the title for those that can be bothered) is what the film will be remembered for. Acting is sufficient for the humble demands made on it.

At the start, Sandra and her mom drive through the countryside, arguing, and crash. Mom tries to fix the engine and swiftly disappears. Sandra, being the jumpy teenager that is ideal for standard horror fare, locks herself in the van, watches gruesome looking sludge hitting the windows before Bye, Bye, Sandra - all before the opening credits. This formula of delivering shocks at the beginning to leave the audience in a state of nervous anticipation for the next hour or so works well enough, especially set in Romania, and I had no complaints.

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Cut to inside a busy school and meet a teacher who passes the wrecked van on her way home (to a big country house of course). Predictable as it is, seeing it in a French rather than American setting and with subtitles makes it seem less like another of the films so well sent up by Scary Movie. Teacher girl and her boyfriend hear noises in the night, go outside, get chased etc etc - you know the rest. Except for the ending and the identity of 'Them'.

Cinematography is quite inventive at one point - as the couple flee through the labyrinthine building there are some rooms with semi-opaque builders' drapes hanging down. In the context, they are almost like giant fly-papers. There is a long period where we do not know if we are dealing with a human or non-human foe. The over-extended cat-and-mouse that serves in lieu of a plot just about spins it out with enough shocks until the directors thumb their noses at the audience and bring them down to earth with a classy denouement.

Reviewed on: 08 Sep 2006
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A couple find themselves hunted in their isolated Romanian house.
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Director: David Moreau, Xavier Palud

Writer: David Moreau, Xavier Palud

Starring: Olivia Bonamy, Michael Cohen, Adriana Mocca, Maria Roman, Camelia Maxim

Year: 2006

Runtime: 79 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France


EIFF 2006

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