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Friday, August 24, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Movie Review

French thriller "Them" is thoroughly creepy

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review3 stars

Showtimes

"Them," with Olivia Bonamy, Michaël Cohen. Written and directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud.

78 minutes. Rated R for some violence/terror. In French with English subtitles.

For those horror-movie aficionados who've wondered whether Europeans are as boneheaded as Americans when it comes to Not Turning The Lights On When Something Obviously Creepy Is Happening In The House, the answer is oui. "Them," a short, snappy and very scary French thriller from filmmakers David Moreau and Xavier Palud, demonstrates this cross-cultural tidbit efficiently.

After a brief, bone-chilling prologue about a mother and daughter stranded on a dark Romanian road (pay attention, it'll matter later), we meet the main characters. Clémentine (Olivia Bonamy) and Lucas (Michaël Cohen), a teacher and writer, live in a remote, sparsely furnished country house in Bucharest. One night, they begin to hear noises. Someone — or more than one — is stalking them, from somewhere inside their big house with its endless halls and doorways. We don't know who, or even what, the intruder might be, and neither do Clémentine and Lucas; but it's clear their long night's journey cannot end well.

"Them" is more suspenseful than gory; there's little blood, but the tension gradually builds to a nail-biting level — an impressive feat, considering the movie is essentially one long chase. A final twist, with a reminder that the film is based on true events, leaves the audience thoroughly creeped out, heading home to lock their doors, turn on the lights and swear off horror movies — until the next one.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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