Review: Amazon’s Racism Fueled Series “Them” Hits You Like A Sledgehammer

April 18, 2021

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of HorrorFuel.com. She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email: [email protected]


 
 
“Them,” set in the 1950s, centers on a black family who moves from their home in North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood during a period known as “The Great Migration.” The family’s new idyllic home soon becomes ground zero for racial prejudice and malevolent otherworldly forces and other evils that threaten to ravage and destroy them.
 
I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t make it through the premiere episode on my first try. There was so much hate and racism I just couldn’t finish it. I was left heartbroken. It took me several days to try again, this time I lasted through the end of the premiere and two more episodes before I folded and gave up again. My heart just couldn’t take it. A day or two later I was determined to see it through. I was left saddened, angry, depressed, and I couldn’t get it out of my head.
 
Billed as a horror series, the show is more about the horrors African Americans have faced than it is about scares or the supernatural aspects it features. And the horrors of racism are unrelenting in “Them.” It does deliver the horror and evil that humans have done and still do, which is more than disturbing than some entity that goes bump in the night.
 
As for the series’ cast, which includes Deborah Ayorinde, Ashley Thomas, Alison Pill, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Melody Hurd, and Ryan Kwanten, they are phenomenal. Even the child stars nailed it, which is hard for young actors to do. The standout of the cast is actress Deborah Ayorinde who played the role of the troubled mother Livia ‘Lucky’ Emory. She did an absolutely amazing job with what had to be a difficult role. The emotions this character has to go through are insane and somehow, Ayorinde emoted each with such intensity and perfection. I mean, wow! Someone give this lady an award!
 
“Them” was created, written, and executive produced by Little Marvin. If he was aiming to create a lasting impression and a series that will leave you feeling a gambit of emotions, he nailed it. I think the series will stay with anyone who watches it. Hopefully, it will also make viewers take stock of how they treat others.
 
“Them” is a hate-fueled series that offers only sadness and pain. In my opinion, the series takes things just a little too far. The point wasn’t delivered like it was in Jordan Peele’s Us, in “Them” it was delivered with all the gentleness of a sledgehammer swung by a strongman. It’s just hate and pain piled on top of hate and pain. There’s very little hope given. I will say this, the series couldn’t have had better timing, being released during the George Floyd trial, helping to fuel the anger of the African American community. And they aren’t wrong for being angry and fed up. No one should have to worry about being pulled over and shot by a moronic cop who doesn’t know their gun from a taser, or dying in the street with a cop’s knee on their neck, or being tased to death by three cops at the same time when their only crime is asking for a glass of water after walking 20 miles. Yes, they should be angry, so should you, at the people who still think racism is okay.
 
Here’s my warning about “Them”, if you are easily triggered, skip it. The series is one of the hardest things I’ve ever watched, not because of gore, or scares, but because of the enormity of suffering of the show’s family and watching and hearing the racism spewed forth. If you do watch it and it doesn’t leave you heartbroken at least a little, there’s something seriously wrong with you.
 
You can find season one of “Them” now streaming on Amazon Prime. The anthology series has already been renewed and the second season should premiere in 2022.
 
 

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