8. THEM (2006)

The 74-minute French horror-thriller Them is about as lean and mean as a movie can get. A husband and wife are hanging out inside their secluded mansion when a group of hooded assailants show up, play mind games with the couple, and then engage in a bit of stalk-and-prey. It all leads up to 20-minute long chase that clamps onto the viewers like a vice grip, before releasing its hold with a haunting final shot that gives the entirety of Them an unforeseen and even more sinister context.

Directors, and co-writers, Xavier Palud and David Moreau do a masterful job at keeping the antagonists’ identities shrouded in mystery, giving each of their brief appearances a somewhat supernatural feel. But Them isn’t a spook-show by any means; rather, it’s a showy exercise in bare-bones filmmaking. Palud and Moreau don’t waste a single second of the movie’s scant running time, subjecting the husband and wife characters to a random nightmare that goes from bad to worse to “You’re fucked.”