By Brett Mullins

Original Title: Ils

Released: 2006

Written and Directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud

A French couple is terrorized by unknown figures in their aged Romanian mansion. That’s about the extent of the film’s plot.

Them is a home invasion thriller that utilizes the effects of dim lighting and sudden loud noises quite well. As the couple moves throughout the house, the fear of the unknown is evoked in the audience, and an effective atmosphere is created. The couple has a generic feel that would greatly hinder most other films; however, this enables the audience to easily put themselves into the shoes of the characters and establish a relationship.

This pays off in the end allowing for a better conclusion to the film. With that being said, the ending was a bit of a disappointment. Not to venture into spoiler territory, but my hopes were for something much, much better.

Despite the technical soundness, the film ran out of steam long before the seventy seven minute runtime. It is worth mentioning the possible xenophobic themes against the Romanian people. One reviewer noted that around the time this film was released, Romania was amid a battle to join the European Union, and some of the Western European countries (France included) were not happy. While this may add some depth to the film, it is largely undermined by the fact that, despite the note in the opening credits, Them is based on a true story about as much as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is, which is to say not very much.

Rating: 5/10

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