They Came Back

"Good"

They Came Back Review


BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINS!

Er, JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBS!

Robin Campillo's meditation on people from beyond the grave is perverse and unique, if a little unclear on what the point of it is.

The opening scene sets the stage: A legion of people, mostly elderly, are seen strolling quietly out of the cemetary in a small French town. 70 million people have risen from the grave, we're told, and we never venture outside this hamlet, we don't really have to: 13,000 "returnees" have descended on this city alone.

And they aren't attacking. They're just back, and though they're a little slow, a little weird, and a little chilly, they want back into society just like it was before. Only they've all been replaced in their jobs, their families have moved on, and there's nowhere for them to stay. Not to mention: All the returnees are kinda strange. They wander nine miles each day, they seem a little autistic, and they don't do well in positions of authority. The government pays to give them work, but myriad problems remain. Much of the film concerns the city managers trying to figure out how to cope with the sudden influx of (nearly useless) residents, while the rest of the film plays out over a couple of personal stories (primarily concerning the return of Géraldine Pailhas's deceased husband). Meanwhile, we're left to wonder what might happen when 13,000 "revenants" turn into full-fledged brain-sucking zombies.

It's a moment you'll spend a long time waiting for, and I won't spoil whether or not it does. But Campillo, in her directorial debut (having written the script for the masterful Time Out), seems to give up on this story in its final act. It's a terrifyingly interesting premise -- and not just because of the fear of horrible things to come, but because you immediately start to wonder how you'd respond if you were among the living here -- but Campillo never goes anywhere with it. Instead, we end up with a kind of aborted film that's mostly about how paranoid people are, and not the mind-blower that it really ought to have been.

Aka Les Revenants.



Facts and Figures

Production compaines: Gimages Développement

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 5.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Rachel, as Mathieu, as Gardet, as Martha, as Le maire, Djemel Barek as Isham, Marie Matheron as Véronique, Saady Delas as Sylvain

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