Them aka Ils – France, 2006 – reviews

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‘You’ll never feel safe in your home again’

Them – original title: Ils is a 2006 French horror feature film written and directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud. The movie stars Olivia Bonamy, Michaël Cohen, Adriana Mocca.

Olivia Bonamy plays Clementine, a young teacher, who has recently moved from France to a remote but idyllic country house near Bucharest, Romania with her lover Lucas played by Michael Cohen.

A Romanian mother and daughter are driving along a deserted country road at night. During an argument the mother crashes their vehicle. She gets out to check the engine. After a period of silence the daughter calls to her mother and gets out. Her mother has disappeared. She calls out but her call is repeated from the surrounding woods by a whispery voice.

Petrified, she jumps back into the vehicle. Suddenly, noises come from the woods around her and mud is thrown against the windows. The young girl desperately attempts to contact the police using a mobile phone but is strangled to death from behind.

The next day, driving home from her teaching job, Clementine passes the crashed vehicle, unaware of the previous night’s events. She is greeted at home by her lover, Lucas. They settle in for the night, but after going to bed, Clementine is awakened by the sound of movement outside…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

Head in a Vice review: ‘Them more than adequately manages to chill its audience, and it expertly utilizes its low-budget and grassroots production values to its advantage. The result is at times almost Blair Witch-esque, with flashlights lighting the way during point-of-view sprints through the woods. The movie has good pacing, good timing, and certainly good acting’.

Dreams in the Bitch House review: ‘The opening sequence is taut and although the rest of the film never again rises to that level, it has some pretty good moments […]  The third act is well orchestrated and the big reveal is shudder-inducing’.

Lingua Romana review [spoiler alert]: ‘Since plot and dialogue are minimal, the film’s success hinges entirely on the shock generated by the revelation of the aggressors’ identity. The build-up is so long, however, and the final revelation so tepidly done that it fails to justify the preceding 70 plus minutes of tedium…’.

Cinepinion review [spoiler alert]: ‘…earns all of its jolts through old-fashioned manipulation of the medium: long tracking shots refuse to cut, thusly refusing to alleviate the accruing tension; snaky passageways and dim lighting allow the shadow-drenched frames (at times the screen is lit by only a Zippo) to threaten to unleash frights from any and all corners at any and all times…’

Horror Movie a Day review: ‘this is a solid little movie. Like High Tension and (again) Inside, it presents the killer’s identity/motive as a twist…’.

Cast and characters:

  • Olivia Bonamy … Clémentine
  • Michaël Cohen … Lucas
  • Adriana Mocca … Ilona (as Adriana Moca)
  • Maria Roman … Sanda
  • Camelia Maxim … Maria
  • Alexandru Boghiu … L’enfant
  • Emanuel Stefanuc … Adolescent n°1
  • Horia Ioan … Adolescent n°2
  • Stefan Cornic … Adolescent n°3
  • George Iulian … Adolescent n°4

Technical credits:

77 minutes | 2.35: 1 | Dolby Digital

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