Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Them": Romanian-French horror film shows a shocking analogy to a recent teen crime in the US

There are not a lot of “slasher” foreign language horror films in American circulation today, but “Them” (or “Ils”), by David Moreau and Xavier Palud, filmed near Bucharest in Romanian (and French sometimes), from Slowhand Releasing in the US, Mars in France, and Romanian company Eskwad (with Studio Canal) is one.  And there is a point that applies to recent horrific events in the U.S.

Lucas (Michael Cohen), a writer or journalist, and his wife Clementine (Olivia Bonamy) have bought a much larger estate than they could reasonably need, even with future kids, deep in the woods along a one-lane road. Oh, they have everything, including satellite TV and wireless Internet. 

Olivia teaches middle school kids, and in an early scene she talks about freedom.  Unbeknownst to the couple, a mother and daughter disappeared after they had an auto accident in the area.  About 3 AM their first night in their palatial property, they start hearing noises.  Their car is stolen, and the power goes out.  Soon the couple is fighting off home invaders whom they can’t see and who stay just out of sight.

It’s not fair to spoil things too much, but in Oklahoma in the USA in August 2013, there was a senseless murder of a young athlete, a little younger than the man in this film, by teenagers who said “they were bored.”  True, that might have been a gang initiation, or might have race or “class war” overtones, but the same shocking conclusion is possible with this film.  The 2006 film purports to be based on true events, and here the kids said the grownups “wouldn’t play”.

The early scenes have some handsome shots, in full wide aspect, of downtown Bucharest, which looks more prosperous than it probably is.

The film should not be confused with the 1954 classic “Them!” (Gordon Douglas, Warner Bros.) about giant ants gone wild from radiation from nuclear testing.  I think I saw that on TV about three decades ago.
Wikipedia attribution link for satellite image of Romania in winter. 

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