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3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 28 July 2007
A Great little film which keeps the suspense up throughtout its brief running time and the end makes it all the more disturbing once you find out who ''them'' are and that its based on real events. Bear in mind, if you're after the usual Hollywood horror flick then you might be dissapointed. This film is ultra low-budget with only 2 main actors on screen for most of the time...and it has subtitles since it was made in Romania. However, the suspense is excellent and you cant help but feel sorry for the couple who get terrorised by ''them''. The only reason why i gave this only 3 stars is because it has virtually zero replay value. I cant really see this as entertainment and once you find out tho ''them'' are, it's unlikely you'll want to watch the film again. I advise to rent before you buy.

p.s. One or more reviews here contain major spoilers which really ruin the film for first time viewers.
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on 15 March 2007
In an era where gore seems to be the dominant style of horror movies and suspense has been replaced by splatter(thank you Eli Roth) it is a relief to find a film that abandons total reliance on the special effects department and instead, very successfully, cranks up the tension to an unbearable degree. It is very rare to find modern French horror movies, notable exceptions being Haute Tension (Switchblade Romance) and Sheitan, however if this is the pedigree of terror films that our Gallic friends can produce then I for one would love to see more. The tension in this movie is similar to that of the aforementioned "Switchblade Romance" only without the dissapointing twist that ultimately lets the viewers off the hook. In fact the ending, especially the "what happened next" caption pre final credits, is so bleak as to destro your faith in human nature all together.

"Inspired by true events" the film tells of a french couple living in Romania who are terrorised in their home by unseen assailants. Very well shot, the tone of the film is set from the opening sequence where a mother and daughter, involved in a car crash, are the first victims of the mysterious "them", and the stunning set pieces, including a nerve shredding sequence in a plastic shrouded attic, are reminiscent of Carpenter, Bava and Argento at their best (indeed one shot is almost lifted wholesale from Argento's "Opera"). A must for all fans of terror movies, though the hard core gore hounds may want to look elsewhere.
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on 6 July 2011
I was quite surprised to see the amount of reviews giving this one or two stars when I popped on here - until I spotted that half of them were people whining about their Blu-Ray copy being ropey or the framing being wrong or the fact that it's got subtitles. Imagine that, eh? Having to read and watch stuff at the same time.

In terms of the actual film, I think the greatest trick they have pulled off with Ils is that despite a very short running time it does not feel rushed and it does take its time in getting started and actually introducing us to the characters. It really is an extremely taut piece of filmmaking that does keep you guessing until what I found to be a pretty satisfying climax, although I would well understand some people being annoyed by it. It's a Marmite ending - like the one for The Mist which I know loads of people loved but I hated.

The two leads do their job well enough and Olivia Bonamy is certainly my latest French actress crush, right up their with Emmanuelle Beart and Ludivine Sagnier. I saw one reviewer complaining that her nipples distracted him too much from the plot. Completely understand his point of view, they are very distracting although I found them almost pleasant enough a distraction to give this the full 5 stars. They are that good. As is the film.
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on 8 September 2011
Firstly, please be warned that some well-meaning reviewers here have inadvertantly given away far too much of the plot! I would advise against reading them until you've seen the movie.

Secondly, how depressing to see people criticising the film for its use of subtitles! Er...it's not an English language film. Overseas countries make them too and for some reason make them in their own language - how very dare they. If you are wary of subtitled movies, do not allow this to put you off. There is very little dialogue overall and it really should not affect your enjoyment of this movie. It's also unfair for people to give this film one star due to the poor quality of the blu-ray transfer!

Anyway, all you need to know it that this is a cracking little French horror (little as it's only 74 minutes long) made on an absolute shoestring budget that relies not on gore and lazy schlock horror, but on good old-fashioned terror. It's a home invasion movie, made before "The Strangers" with Liv Tyler and is a far better exercise in building tension. Like The Strangers, it claims to be based on a true story...

The excellent intro scene really sets the tone - the director cranks up the tension with big, doom-laden pauses and an excellent score. The feeling of impending horror gets pretty unbearable and this is most definitely not a film to watch late at night if you're home alone.

However, I can't give it five stars due to the action that takes place away from the house. One silly decision after another from the protagonists left me feeling irritated. But it's a means to an end for the final denouement.

Overall, some fine performances, and some genuinely nerve-shredding moments. Enjoy!

WARNING - MINI-SPOILER... The director takes an enormous risk by giving us a big clue as to who "they" are fairly early on in the film. I'd love to know how many people thought the same.
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on 11 October 2016
Yes there is some atmosphere. But as other reviewers have said, really there is nothing here to really grip you properly at all. I won't go into any detail about what we do see, since I can't do that without giving vital info to spoil the effect.

And because it is based on true events, although there is some surprise at what has gone on it has actually quite an anti-climax of an ending. Certainly the hype of the descriptions of the film, which caused me to buy it, led me to disappointment.
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on 3 March 2014
Creepy movie that had me gripped from the opening moments to the disturbing ending, not a blood and guts affair but more a psychological twister, hooded top villains terrorise a couple in their country home in france,, this movie provided plenty of tense moments and plot twists which are a welcome change for a modern horror.

the end left me speehless and thinking! great movie.
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on 8 October 2014
I saw this movie by chance, on TV the other week, as I was channel hopping, and except for the first minute caught it all.

I was intrigued and engrossed from the start. I had no idea what this film was about, I had no knowledge of it ever being released.

What was the 'Them' in the title? When will they show themselves? Are they otherworldly beings?

And yes I was sucked in, it was well made and produced and because the 'Them' were so mysterious it made for creepy viewing.
Even when the 'Them' were seen it was still unsettling. The mystique of this film is it's real tool and very clever it is too.

So glad I watched this without prior knowledge. All you need to know is that its a horror, but, other than that, knowledge is a spoiler in this case, and from marketing through to this page it hard to avoid.
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on 6 September 2015
A fantastic terrifying thriller that looks like a real horror and offers a horrible twist towards the end.
Shot with low budget, excellent sense of editing and atmosphere and an essential and functional script, Them is really playing with our most ancestral fears and confirms that the best way to scare the xxxx out of people is to make them feel the fear and stay ambiguous and undefined, instead of showing the face of fear
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on 22 March 2008
i bought this film under the pretence that it would be mildly amusing to pass the evening and yet i found myself so scared i cowered behind my duvet for the majority of the film!I have only seen one other french horror other than this 'Switchblade Romance' and that was an equally brilliant work of art. I must say that this film was just about the right length, coming in at under an hour and a half. It left me wanting more without dragging as some films do. As another reviewer mentioned, it is scarier not to see terror than it is to see blood and guts and this film played that perfectly. Added to which the supposed 'based on true events' really topped it off for me as the icing on the cake. I liked it so much i watched it an hour later when i couldn't sleep and was still equally scared even though i by now knew the true identity of 'them'.I would really recommend this film for a scary night on the sofa, or behind as it would appear for me, and i think the pace and acting were just right. A stunner!
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on 4 April 2013
'Them', or 'Ils', a 2006 French horror film directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud, has a fairly thin, uninteresting plot: a couple are attacked by four unknown children in their home in an extremely isolated area. It's not a particularly ordinary plot and one which is overdone in the horror genre. With this being said, 'Them' has to rely on other aspects of filmmaking in order for it for it to be an enjoyable and engaging film.

Beyond the plot, in other areas of filmmaking, then, 'Them' mostly succeeds. The character development is well done and appropriately provokes fear in the viewers. Firstly, the couple that is presented in the film are likeable as both lovers and as individuals and so we empathise with the characters as the villians begin to attack them. Unlike in most horror films these days, neither of the protagonists make stupid, nonsensical decisions whilst being attacked, attempting to deal with the situations thrown at them in a methodical manner. Prior to the unsettling events and violence, we warm to the protagonists, whilst, on the contrary, the cold, anonymous nature of the antagonists support film's the grim, unsettling nature. We are not given the names of the villians, nor do we even see their full faces at any point; the fact that the villians are not fully developed therefore adds to the film's sense of mystery and the terror that may be evoked in the audience.

Other factors of filmmaking are well portrayed in 'Them', for example, the cinematography is very artfully done: throughout all of the scenes the camera work captures the dull, miserable setting well; the excellence of the camera work is mainly demonstrated in the second falf of the film, and particularly when the couple leave their house and move towards the woods.

The development of the film itself is very fine, consistently building up suspense and fear within the audience's mind. The opening scene, which serves as a prelude to the events that take place, captures tension and terror, mainly through silence and, once again, isolation, two attributes which stay true to the film as a whole. As stated previously, the character development is good, as are the complications that are presented: after the couple realise that are being attacked and that the villians are inside their house, several (perhaps generic) events take place which improve the level of fear, such as the TV and taps being turned, and a rather haunting image of one the villians themselves.

However, the final fifteen minutes or so make for the most engaging, interesting part of the film: as the attacks that our protagonists face swing into full force, the nerves that we experience also raise to their highest level as we root for the couple and hope for them to find safety. Whilst the climax of the film is intense, its conclusion is, I found, rather disappointing. (WARNING: the following contents of my review contain spoilers for those who have not seen the film.) 'They wouldn't play with us', explains one of the children after the police arrest the villians since they find the bodies of the couple days after the events take place. On one hand, this conclusion is quite thought-provoking: were the children (who are revealed to be aged between ten and fifteen) simply lonely and wanted some friendly company, and went to such drastic measures to hurt the protagonists because they failed to get their wish? On the ironic contrary, there are much more friendly ways to introduce yourself to people than abruptly invading their house at 4am in the morning, and I'm sure if everyone was in this position, they would react with the same terror that the couple did. With the aforementioned point being made, I feel that the conclusion wasn't thought out as well and as fully as it could have been.

On the whole, there is really nothing insulting or offensive about 'Them' as a film (until perhaps the conclusion, as I have stated, depending on how you personally interpret it). What my overall thoughts boiled down to, then, was, despite how contempent the filmmaking may be, is it memorable, and would I recommend the film to horror fanatics, or even introduce the film as a template of good, engaging horror to someone who is wanting to invest in the horror genre? The answer to all of these questions, for me, unfortunately, was no. As nicely done as it is, there is nothing remotely interesting about the film to the extent that it stays with you afterwards, and it's, as I have already said, merely quite a generic piece of work as far as the contents of the horror genre are concerned. One of the quotes on the front of the DVD cover states that I should 'expect nightmares', but, whilst there is a satisfying level of fear whilst this film is being watched, I certainly won't be losing any sleep over it. Collectively, there are far more horror films that are clearly more engaging and original than this piece of work, and simply for the fact that 'Them' fails to present viewers with nothing new, despite its consistency, it ultimately feels quite empty, and falls short of expectations.
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