Culture / Film

Lena Waithe’s ‘THEM’ trailer will give you shivers

them 2021

Lena Waithe's latest series THEM is almost here, and the trailer has us both shivering and gasping at the horror that appears to ensue throughout the upcoming series. Back in the 1950s, Compton - the town where THEM is set - was populated almost entirely by white people. This was no coincidence. We're talking restricted real estate to Black folks, wildly racist neighbours, and racially restrictive convents in the heart of Compton, California. It wasn't until after World War II that the area's racial demographics expanded, but pre-World War II Compton is what THEM focusses on, and the new trailer for the Amazon Prime series has our stomachs turning from just a few seconds in.

THEM tells the story of the Emory family, a middle-class family who are the first Black people to move into one of the exclusively white neighbourhoods of Compton. A suburban dream that begins to look more and more like a nightmare when their white suburban neighbours are not happy with their arrival, as Ashley Pill's character states, "They came from some place worse, we'll have to make this place worse." What follows, is a barrage of malevolent forces - next door and otherworldly, taunt and threaten the family.

Deborah Ayorinde and Ashley Thomas will play parents to their two daughters, played by Shahadi Wright Joseph (of Jordan Peele’s Us) and Melody Hurd. The series, which will serve as an anthology starting with the Emory family, has been created and executive produced by Little Marvin, who also serves as writer, alongside executive producers Lena Waithe, Don Kurt, Miri Yoon, David Matthews, and Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment. The series has already received a two-season order from Amazon.

“It’s always just about what interests us. I think that is a form of freedom. Some people may say, 'Just tell Black stories. Just tell Black, queer stuff.'” Waithe told IndieWire last year, "Well, I’m going to do that because I don’t know how not to. But I can also do other things, and I think that will be my next mission is to hope that people can watch me grow and do things that may be unexpected. But that’s the job of the artist, is to evolve, is to shift, is to grow. That’s what I want to continue to do." She continued. "If I’m doing something that looks like something I did already, that’s a problem. I want to aspire to be is always shifting and evolving, and not always being able to recognise myself."

THEM premiered at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival in March before its release on Amazon Prime Video on April 9. You can watch the full trailer, below.

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