If you took the blood out of the Aussie horror film Wolf Creek, which also claimed to be based on real news events, it might resemble this pared-down French thriller, which imagines how a young French couple made headlines in a Romanian paper. She's a teacher, he's a would-be writer, and they live outside Bucharest in an improbably grand country home. (But, hey, maybe teaching and writing pay much better in Europe. Or Romania's an excellent real-estate bargain.) A brief prologue establishes that danger lurks out in the night, but Them (Ils in French) keeps that danger out of our view for virtually the whole picture—like Jaws without the shark. The lights shut off, things go bump, and soon the young couple is fleeing down hallways, fleeing through the woods, fleeing through tunnels and catacombs. Basically, it's a movie about fleeing, which one might reasonably expect to lead somewhere. Not necessarily to "This is why Norman Bates dressed up like his mummified mother and went around stabbing people," but somewhere, something, just a tiny glimpse of the shark. Please. But Them says "non," and so should you.
Olivia Bonamy and Michaël Cohen cower in the dark.
Opens at Uptown, Fri., Aug. 24. Rated R. 75 minutes.