There are two genres of horror that really start me up: inbred hillbillies and home invasion. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t get enough of them.
Them (or Ils as it’s called in it’s native country) is a super tense, super scary French home invasion movie from 2006. The pacing is great, aided by the fact that the movie is a concise 74 minutes – trimming all the fat and getting to the action almost immediately and maintaining that agonizing momentum for the rest of the film.
A young teacher meets up with her boyfriend at a new summer home she’s renting in the country. That night, without warning, the couple start being antagonized by a group of outsiders. They struggle to keep the invaders at bay while trying to figure out a way to safety.
The movie, as I said, is a solid 74 minutes of thrilling horror with a great reveal at the end. What I really appreciate is that this film strayed from the New French Extremity movement which was super popular at the time. Not much violence or brutality, which I find refreshing. Some some good old fashioned razor-wire tension which can be far scarier than a bucket of blood.
Upon watching this movie, initially I was really afraid it was going to take the easy way out and go down the ‘torture porn’ route, but I was pleasantly surprised when that just happened to just be a fleeting moment in the second act. The movie actually borrows from my favorite genre: the home invasion. However in this case, in an interesting spin, the protagonists in this film are actually the interlopers.
A young couple decide to take a woody retreat one weekend. While on a secluded beach, some loud and thuggish youngsters show up and blast music and let their dog run free. The young couple request that they keep it down and keep the dog leashed, to which the kids reply “you’re on our territory”. Here’s where the reversal comes in. Suddenly it’s the good guys who are invading the bad guys territory. The couple is insistent, but the young punks don’t relent. Soon it escalates well beyond what it should and all fucking hell breaks loose. The movies becomes very bad very quickly.
I really, really, really enjoyed this film. I didn’t know what to expect when I started it, nor did I realize the handsome lead was a pre-fame Michael Fassbender, but the movie is full of surprises, including the ending (which I won’t give away). The movie had me edgy the whole time, wondering what was going to happen next. It also brought to mind something that happens on a daily basis: when do you back down? When do you swallow your pride and move on? I guess you never know until you’re being chased by a group of drugged-up teens.
What a fucking great title for a film. Truly one of the most badass.
This is one of those exploitative “rape and revenge” flicks that was so popular in the 70s, along with Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left and Ruggero Deodato’s House at the Edge of the Park. I mean, yes, the film is pretty vile. And it is mostly violence and sex for violence and sex sake. But there is nothing better than watching the reeeallly bad guys get their comeuppance.A pretty, young writer goes to a secluded cottage to get some work done. The locals take a liking to her, but she shrugs off their advances. They don’t take kindly to her city ways and decide to give her a nice country welcome with a heavy dose of gang rape. Left for dead, the young woman exacts revenge on the redneck rapists.
There are a couple classic (cringe-inducing) scenes, especially for the male viewers. And who can forget that classic box art? If you want to be a well-rounded horror film fiend, you’ll make sure to watch this along with your haunted houses and mutant bugs.