Amazon Prime's Newest Horror Series ‘Them’ Is the Stuff of Nightmares—Here's My Honest Review
*Warning: Minor spoilers ahead*
It starts off innocently enough: A Black mother prepares a snack for her toddler in an isolated suburban home. Then along comes this random stranger, who innocently plays with the family's dog. But then she starts to sing Stephen Foster's "Old Black Joe." The dog mysteriously vanishes. The baby starts to cry. And suddenly, this visitor doesn’t look so friendly.
At this point I’m already on edge, waiting with bated breath for the ultimate jump-scare or some kind of release—but it never comes. Instead, that palpable tension just continues to build and, at the end of the first episode, I’m still left holding my breath.
For those who are unfamiliar with Them, it’s the new horror anthology series that just hit Amazon Prime. And while I’ve only just started watching this series, I’m already horror-struck. Read on for more details about the show, its cast, and whether or not it’s worth the watch.
1. What is ‘THEM’ about?
According to the official synopsis, Them is a horror drama that explores terror in America. In the first season, called Them: Covenant, we follows the Emorys, a Black family who moves into an all-white neighborhood in Los Angeles during the Second Great Migration. When they get there, however, they confront evil forces that threaten to destroy them all.
In her interview with Vogue, Lena Waithe, who serves as an executive producer, explained that the purpose is to highlight the darker side of the Black experience in America. She said, “It’s going to ruffle some feathers. It’s going to trigger some people. It’s not going to be an easy watch, but it will be unforgettable.”
She continued, “It’s not about exploiting Black pain. It’s about not allowing the world to act as if we, as Black people, have to just be okay. There’s a reason why we’re not. Even though the show takes place in the 1950s, what happened then still affects us today.”
2. Who’s in the cast?
The cast includes quite a few familiar faces. Harriet actress Deborah Ayorinde stars as Lucky Emory while Ashley Thomas plays her successful husband, Henry. Shahadi Wright Joseph, who you might recognize from Jordan Peele's Us, plays their eldest daughter, Ruby Emory, and Melody Hurd plays Gracie, their youngest.
Meanwhile, Alison Pill, best known for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, stars as the family’s racist neighbor, Betty Wendell. Other cast members include Ryan Kwanten, Christopher Heyerdahl, Jeremiah Birkett and Liam McIntyre.
3. Is it worth the watch?
If you're a fan of hair-raising suspense, jump scares and sharp commentary about America, then you're definitely in the right place.
While I've only seen the first episode, I can honestly say that I haven't felt this scared in a long time. From the eerie, judgmental gaze of white neighbors to the mysterious home invasion, I was terrified for this family and teetering on the edge of my seat the entire time. But here's the thing: The overt racism wasn't even the scariest part. It was simply knowing that the worst is yet to come, since the Emorys are technically dealing with layers of trauma, both outside and inside their home.
As expected, the acting is also phenomenal, but the immediate standout is Ayorinde's Lucky. From the moment she enters the new neighborhood, she's ill at ease—and you can feel that discomfort. You can feel her paranoia when she sits up at night with her loaded gun, and her anger when the neighborhood wives try to get under her skin.
As Waithe previously mentioned, this is far (and I mean far) from feel-good content, but it tackles an important piece of history in a pretty unique way. That sense of impending doom will definitely have your heart racing from the start, but this also strikes me as the kind of series that'll get viewers thinking about America's flaws and racism towards the Black community.
Come this weekend, I know what I'll be watching (with all the lights on, of course).
PUREWOW RATING: 4 STARS
With nail-biting suspense and thought-provoking commentary on racism, Them will actually remind you of how terrifying the real world can be.
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