Thursday, April 2, 2009

Them 2006 (Ils)

Them was released in 2006 under the French title Ils. Them is a French Film with English sub-titles that takes place in Romania. The film claims to be based on actual events and intends to be a Suspense Thriller. After fact-checking the film, it appears that the only correlation to the true story may be conceptual. Almost every facet of the story was changed from the events upon which it claims to be based.

Them takes place in Bucharest, Romania. A young teacher named Clementine (Olivia Bonamy) and her significant other Lucas (Michael Cohen) become targeted within their own home by unseen intruders. The film delivers an element of supernatural forces which further distances the film both from believability as well as the actual events. After spending the night battling invisible forces, the couple finds that they have fallen victim to young intruders. The battle shifts from the house to the woods to underground passageways.

Them can not be easily dissected. I found myself strangely attracted to the stylistic aspects of the film, while dumbfounded by the lack of credibility and simplicity of the plot. The dialogue did not add much to the mix. Lucas tells Clementine to “stay right there” several times to the point where it got old. The film was actually better when it lacked dialogue. The suspense scenes were a nod to classic Hollywood, complete with hanging plastic barriers, gauntlet like hallways and creaky floors. While the writing left much to be desired, the cinematography (Axel Cosnefroy) was enjoyable.

I was mostly puzzled by the decision to add supernatural elements to the film. There were several scenes where electrical interference, and/or radio and television transmissions seem a bit over the top. The extent to which they used these ploys made the film appear to suggest an other-worldly element that never materialized. The entire premise was distracting and never added anything to the level of suspense. It would have been fine to simply use the old-fashioned suspense-building elements that worked effectively in conjunction with the foundation of the story without trying to give the impression of something bigger.

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