Verb conjugations aren't the only things that are irregular when a French teacher and her writer hubby are assaulted by things that go bump in the night in well-crafted genre exercise "Them." Romania-set scare-fest deploys the full cinematic vocabulary of creepy sounds and hostile intruders.

Verb conjugations aren’t the only things that are irregular when a French teacher and her writer hubby are assaulted by things that go bump in the night in well-crafted genre exercise “Them.” Romania-set scare-fest deploys the full cinematic vocabulary of creepy sounds and hostile intruders. Lensed with skill to no particular end, pic — “based on actual events” — makes the perfect (nasty) gag gift for anyone heading on assignment abroad. The July 19 release has shown legs in Gaul.

A mother and daughter careen off a late night road only to be subjected to unseen predators. Five days later, a French woman named Clementine (Olivia Bonamy) finishes a week of teaching French at a Bucharest high school and heads home to the secluded house in the woods she shares with her novelist husband Lucas (Michael Cohen). That night, the house seems to turn on them — doors slam, sharp objects materialize through keyholes. The explanation, however, while disturbing and semi-plausible, doesn’t chill nearly as much as it should. For the record, real horror story befell Austrians in the Czech Republic.

Them

France

Production

A Mars Distribution release of a Richard Grandpierre presentation of an Eskwad, StudioCanal, Castelfilm co-production. (International sales: StudioCanal, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France.) Produced by Grandpierre. Executive producer, Fred Doniguian. Directed, written by David Moreau, Xavier Palud.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Axel Cosnefroy; editor, Nicolas Sarkissian; music, Rene Marc Bini; costume designer, Elisabeth Mehu; casting, Guillaume Moulin, David Bertrand. Reviewed at UGC Odeon, Paris, Jan. 19, 2006. Original title: Ils. Running time: 74 MIN.

With

Olvia Bonamy, Michael Cohen.

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