Criticism | ‘Them’ is a necessary and scary anthology that deserves to be appreciated in all its aspects

The late 2010s saw the insurgency of a new kind of storytelling, which had been treated as a subgenre in the past and captured very fertile ground by the hands, primarily, of acclaimed director Jordan Peele. His two main works, “ Nós ” and “ Corra! Have turned terror into racial criticism and opened the doors to countless attacks on the mainstream scene, in addition to being acclaimed by international critics and audiences alike – the film starring Daniel Kaluuya and even conquering the ‘Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Competent and Scary Story. Now it’s time for Amazon Studios to bet their tokens on a similar series, taking us back to the 1950s and 1960s with the “Them” anthology.

Support the Second Great American Migration, in which millions of people of African descent left the southern states and spread to the Midwest, Northeast, and East of the country in search of better opportunities – especially since the precariousness of black life in the Jim Crow era and in the growing racial segregation promoted by the damnable ideology of white supremacism. So, the story centers on a family who left their home in North Carolina and traveled to Los Angeles, purchasing a beautiful home in an early suburb full of comforts – just to prove hell on earth. In ten episodes, the Emories face inner demons and constant moral harassment from their psychotic neighbors, who do not accept a black family sharing the same environment as them.

At the center of this agonizing whirlwind series are Henry (Ashley Thomas) and Livia “Lucky” (Deborah Ayorinde), a couple who tried to leave the traumas of the past behind, but were struck down by ghosts who insisted. make them remember all the tragedies of your life in the south. In the middle of the first episode (one of the best pilots of recent years, by the way), the two witnesses moments of pure terror and discover that in addition to the people who want them far away, a sinister force lurks on the walls at home and it threatens to drive them mad and commit the most sinister acts imaginable. Between several highlights and a few leaves, which are actually concentrated in the script, the production deserves to be conferred by the unspeakable power of the protagonist’s casting, with an honorable mention to the aforementioned actors and the almost evil incarnation of Alison. Pill as Betty Wendell (best her career so far).

It is always difficult to create a narrow plot; in this case, the chapters are arranged in ten consecutive days which, different from what one might imagine, take the time necessary to build each character’s arcs and infuse them with shocking twists and raw graphics which, different from the expression specific to other works of the genre, it is important for understanding the events that unfold. Little Marvin, who made his debut as a showrunner in the fictional field, previously provided a harsh analysis of the United States in 2006 with the documentary ‘The Time Is Now’ – and returns action-ready with dramatization real stories. Obviously, the supernatural specter is based on the popular imagination and alludes to several urban legends, but without ever leaving reality aside: this is how the protagonists are accompanied by spirits who try to trace chaos back to life. area.

Henry struggles to show that he deserved his place as an engineer for a multinational, as he is whipped by memories of WWII and the prejudices he suffered in the military – materialized by the cynical and frightening Tap Dance Man; Lucky, on the other hand, still bears the pain of seeing his youngest son being mercilessly killed by fellow whites, as if he were an animal, blaming himself for the impending presence of the mighty man in the black hat (a reverend of the 16th century who made a pact with the devil and got trapped among humans); as if that weren’t enough, we also have young Ruby Lee (Shahadi Wright Joseph), who is secretly ashamed of who she is, and the innocent Gracie Jean (Melody Hurd), haunted by the arbitrary and unimportant Miss. Will see. The plots in question merge into a metaphorical and cohesive portrayal of what it meant for the African American community to live among whites.

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Serving as a panorama of the veiled racism perpetuated until today, the series is a tribute to the best of psychological terror and nourishes applauding similarities with country titles, from the aesthetics of the staging, which dares to leave the formulas television and architect a claustrophobic cycle. horrors, with a poignant soundtrack, whose minimalism is guided by the contradictory force of dissonant strings, every aspect of the episodes is millimetrically designed to cause discomfort in the audience, to show the most execrable side of people who don’t. do not accept differences. Pill, playing Betty, does a clapping job that unleashes countless hysterical attacks and heralds a breathtaking ruin.

“Them” has already debuted as an underrated work that probably must have hurt the weak egos of some viewers. Important and definitive, it is remarkable that the production has no tongue in cheek when it comes to the age-old suffering caused by racism – and the current corollaries of its flawless practice.

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