Them aka Ils (2006)
‘’Based on True Events.’’
Just vague enough to not have to give any more information, but believable enough to millions of movie goers to take this at face value, and spread the exaggerated word.
The Strangers, Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project are just some of the films in recent years to use that phrase (or the idea of it) to get bums on cinema seats and boy does it work.
Them is no exception, to this advertising ploy, and because the plausibility of the events isn’t too far fetched for folk to question the plot, especially in the growing culture of Us against Them (Them being anyone under the age of 25 – Us being readers of the Sun and the Daily Mail. Not really sure where that leaves me, because I don’t belong to either group, so I‘ll just commentate from the sidelines eating popcorn. Sucks to be me.).
The media scare tactics, of happy slapping, gangs of hooded youths, Mkat and ankle tags being more fashionable than a Superdry bomber jacket (See? I‘m down with the kids!), all leading the public to the conclusion that the evil has the face of an angel and chubby cherubic fingers holding a knife to your throat while the other fishes in your pockets for your wallet and your Ipod. Think modern day Artful Dodger, but less cheeky chappy song and dance routines and more methadone withdrawal symptoms and fondness for a stabbing.
No evidence of these so called true events have been proven but the amount of internet theorising and conjecture out there does prove what a powerful little phrase these film makers have hit upon, and also how much time people have on their hands these days (and yes, I’m aware I am one of those people – I’m OK with it).
The plot centres around Clementine, a French school teacher and her lover Lucas, who have moved to a large isolated (always an excellent idea) house in Bucharest.
Driving home from work one night she notices an abandoned car (where a mother and daughter were slaughtered in the opening scene), but thinking nothing of it, she arrives home where she and her boyfriend have their evening meal and watch telly before settling in for an early night. (Yeah I know, not exactly scintillating watching for the viewer, but trust me it does get better)
Shortly after going to bed they are awoken by the sound of music playing downstairs – which is weird because they’ve turned everything off, right?
Oh of course they did, they aren’t the sort of environmental destroyers that leave the telly on all night! They’re the sort that recycle and offset their air miles, wear vegan shoes and give £40 a month to Greenpeace. Try not to hold that against them though..
And apparently they are also the sort of people that are about to be terrorised by hoody wearing terrors in their own home.
As the plot goes, that’s pretty much all there is, and if you are like me, (there’s a clue in my name), you’ll have to look elsewhere for your fix of blood and guts, but the film is tense and genuinely keeps you glued to the screen from beginning to end. It’s light on dialogue and indeed violence, but the atmospheric intensity paired with the reliance on the audiences own imagination makes this film one of the most underrated of the genre.
A lot of people whine about its predictability, but the fact is that the horror film as a species is a predictable beast. Originality is a freak mutation of X-Men proportions (yep, I’m aware that my geek is showing, and again, I’m OK with it), and while it’s a beautiful mutation, it’s so rare that plot is always a lesser factor in my analysis, and therefore should be in yours, because the fact is, as long as you enjoyed the damn thing, who the hell cares?