David Moreau and Xavier Palud’s “Them” (2006) finds its way onto many horror movie “must-see” lists, and I can see why. A huge house in the middle of the woods, off the beaten path and all that, a couple being cut off from all resources and being terrorized by mysterious attackers for an unknown. Any intelligent human being has the right to be terrified of these home invasion films — what’s scarier than homicidal maniacs breaking into your home to kill you just because? Nothing, that’s what.
However, the big reveal at the end is lacking some explanation. I’ll agree that it’s a whole lot more horrifying when he killer has no motive, but in the case of “Them” we need some more details.
“Them” follows couple Clémentine (Olivia Bonamy) and Lucas (Michaël Cohen) as they are terrorized by a group of hooded maniacs. The first bone I have to pick with this movie is the fact that it is “based on a true story.” It’s a well-known fact that this popular phrase is used by many a marketing team to sell tickets to films. Usually, the film is an overly dramatic version of a news story with lots of embellishments and flourishes. The idea that “Them” is based on a true story is pretty much a flat-out lie. Try searching for said “true story.” Nothing – or nothing from a credible news source. Moreau and Palud had to have known people would try and look up the true story after seeing the film – or am I the only one that does that? So why sell it as a true story? The film would have been better off without the “true story” spiel.
The other bone I have to pick with “Them,” and I’m about to spoil the ending throughout this paragraph (you’ve been warned), is the reveal of the antagonists. Now, if the psychos were a bunch of adults, the filmmakers could have gotten away without much explanation as to why they are going around murdering people. It’s scarier that way, after all. But in the case of “Them,” it’s a bunch of kids. Now we’re going to need some sort of explanation. As strange as it sounds, as soon as I found out it was school kids terrorizing the couple, I wanted to know why. I guess I have a harder time believing a bunch of kids could do something like this on a whim. Either way, I’m not satisfied with the open-ended conclusion. The only explanation we get at the end is some title cards that tell us the children were caught and when they were questioned one of the little kids said they (the couple) would play with them, so that’s why they did it.
And this isn’t really a true story, so it’s not like I can go find out more about the actual story and why the kids did what they did. I refuse to believe a bunch of kids just decided to murder some couple for fun, there has to be some motive more than “they wouldn’t play with us.” It’s a sloppy, cop-out of an ending to an otherwise scary home invasion horror film.
I encourage anyone with any credible information on the “true story” to please share, but I don’t necessarily recommend watching “Them.”