Them (2006, David Moreau & Xavier Palud)

This year, directors Dave & Xave helmed the Jessica Alba remake of The Eye, so it’s only fitting that a few months later their own movie got a Hollywood remake starring Liv Tyler. The Strangers also reportedly contains traces of Funny Games, a movie that remade itself, so it’s best to stay away from that whole mess.

Bound by love… separated by chainlink fence
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Producer Richard Grandpierre (Brotherhood of the Wolf) thinks he’s quite important, pastes his name all over the credits. Movie spends a lot of time setting up that its loving French couple (who have just moved to rural Romania) love each other. They are a teacher (Olivia Bonamy of La Captive) and a writer (Michael Cohen of Lelouch’s Les Mis) and they love each other. They feed the dog. They watch TV. Then, a half-hour in, their car disappears and people come in the middle of the night terrorizing them in their house. A couple of these “strangers” get hurt, possibly killed, but finally our loving couple is lost in the woods, led into the sewers, and wiped out by… children! Twist, they are children!

OMG they are children!
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Everything is handheld shaky-cam, of course, to give us the proper sense of intimate urgency a la Blair Witch. The dude is pretty ineffectual, hurting himself early on, but the girl is our pseudo-survivor character, all tough and good-looking under pressure. Character/story-wise I preferred American horror The Descent, which this occasionally reminded me of, but Them def. had me jumping in the dark. Manages to sustain its suspense much better than most movies of this type, so even though nothing of interest is ever happening, it’s tense as all hell (and with good sound/effects). Guess that’s all you can ask.

Soon as she started crawling through a dark tunnel with a bright light at the end and I saw the distance was out-of-focus, I knew this would happen.
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“Dario? Mr. Argento? Is anyone there?”
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