For Reel

Them! (1954)
June 23, 2015, 3:32 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Gordon Douglas
4.5 Stars
Them!As one of the first responses that the science fiction genre had to the nuclear age, Them! signaled a significant advancement for the genre in the 1950s. It was produced by Warner Brothers, a studio that would normally be understood to be above such material, but one that provided the film with the necessary resources to get across the sense of scale. Director Gordon Douglas famously begins things in an atmospheric fashion, surveying what appears to be a post-apocalyptic landscape as a pair of police offers discover a young girl (Sandy Drescher) suffering from shock. If the idea of giant ants now seems disreputable, that comes with the modern knowledge of the genre that would follow. The circumstances of Them! are delivered with a fatalistic tone, achieving a convincing sense of paranoia that was all too fitting for the Cold War era. What lingers even longer than the monstrous ants are the dark, hollow caves that are the Los Angeles sewers, or the traumatized girl’s face that registers the unspeakable horrors to come.

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