Written by: Daniel Hadley
The mere mention of subtitles is enough to turn most movie goers away and that’s a true shame because foreign cinema is home to some of the best horror movies of the last two decades. Them (Ils) should be ranked among the best of them. Although light on the types of gore that’s found in the likes of Martyrs, Them makes up for that by cranking up the tension to near unbearable levels.
The plot couldn’t be simpler: A French couple’s large country home is besieged by a group of hooded invaders and the movie follows the couple as they are stalked throughout their house as they desperately try to escape there nightmare. That’s the plot, it’s simple, direct and very well executed. The plot may sound similar if not identical to The Strangers but this came out a full two years before that in 2006 and is a far superior film (it’s also the inspiration behind The Strangers, and based on a true story).
Directors David Mareau and Xavier Palud deliver scene after scene of masterfully wrought tension, brimming with a strong sense of isolation and helplessness that carries right up until the film’s end. And there are no cheap jump scares here, each scene brilliantly establishes a sense of overbearing dread and pushes its characters through one terrifying ordeal after another. There is no down time either, once the assault begins it doesn’t let up until the credits roll.
Them delivers an incredibly well executed frightfully home invasion horror and its best of its kind. This is top a tier terror delivered by two directors who clearly understand how deliver the chills