In keeping with the current trend of full disclosure regarding pharmaceuticals, cigarettes, and other things that may be hazardous to your health, I have a few suggestions for possible warning labels MPI/Dark Sky should consider affixing to their latest release, “Them”:
1) Do not watch Them alone. Watching Them alone can result in shortness of breath, palpitations, and a general sense of unease.
2) Do not watch Them at night. Watching Them at night has been known to cause feelings of extreme paranoia and discomfort, especially if said night is of the “dark and stormy” variety.
3) Do not watch Them at any point in the day in which you hope to sleep following, as sleep may not come for hours – even days – after watching Them.
4) Come to think of it, if you value your sanity, you’re probably better off not watching Them at all.
Boy, howdy, did this film creep the hell out of me. I’d heard a lot about Them (aka;”Ils”) since its release in 2006, and even had a peek or two at some of the film’s original trailers. Sure, it looked like it could be pretty tense, but a lot of movies look that way in trailer form (think anything John Carpenter has done since 1990) but usually fail to deliver on the promise. Them, however, delivers and then some.
The plot of Them is a model of efficiency. Clementine (Olivia Bonamy) and Lucas (Michael Cohen) are a young French couple living in and working in rural Romania. The couple are terrorized in their remote home by a gang of mysterious assailants dressed in hooded sweatshirts. The phone lines are cut, their car is stolen, and their power is switched on and off (at the whim of their attackers), leaving them cut off from help.
Well, that’s not really all, mind, but if I said anything else I’d be ruining it for you.
Them is one of those rare edge-of-your-seat thrillers that literally has you sitting on the edge of your seat (and biting your nails, and screaming out loud, and, later, carefully analyzing every sound you hear in your house). As the hooded attackers torment Clem and Lucas, they never speak, but rather communicate through creepy cries, unnerving noisemakers and whistles, waving flashlights through windows, banging on doors, and generally making a deafening racket with the occasional eerie moments of calm. They seem to be everywhere at once, as if they anticipate Clem and Lucas’ every move, just as director’s David Moreau and Xavier Palud seemingly know every button to push to put their viewers in a similar state of unease. It’s lightening-paced, terrifying, and positively brilliant stuff.
Dark Sky presents the film on DVD with an assortment of extras, including some behind the scenes goodies (in French with English subtitles), trailers, and more.
Easily the scariest movie I’ve seen this century, Them is a rock-em, shock-em horror tour de force that will shatter your nerves, rattle your senses, and leave you breathless. Them gets my highest recommendation!