“They were ten”, a serial adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Negroes” by Pascal Laugier (“Ghostland”), finally arrives tomorrow on M6. Is this slasher-tinged thriller with Samuel Le Bihan, Manon Azem, and Guillaume de Tonquédec successful?
What is it about ?
Ten people, five women, five men, are invited to a deserted tropical island that houses a luxury hotel. The ten guests will quickly realize that they are alone on the island and cut off from the world, without a cell phone and no way to leave what will quickly turn out to be their worst nightmare. Why were they drawn into this trap? The answer is hidden in their past, which they had all carefully buried. But today, under the scorching sun of the island, they will have to pay. In the end, there will be none left. So who is the murderer?
They were ten, directed by Pascal Laugier and written by Bruno Dega and Jeanne Le Guillou based on the novel by Agatha Christie.
Every Tuesday at 9:05 p.m. on M6 from August 17 and already available on Salto. 6 episodes seen out of 6.
Who is it with?
To embody the heroes of They were ten, who find themselves cut off from the world on a (almost) deserted island and are one by one killed by a mysterious murderer who wishes to make them pay for their past crimes, Pascal Laugier and the producers Sophie Révil and Denis Carot called on a five-star cast, made up of faces well known to the general public and young rising stars from the small and big screen.
Namely Guillaume de Tonquédec, Samuel Le Bihan, Romane Bohringer, Marianne Denicourt, Patrick Mille, Matilda Lutz (Revenge), Manon Azem (Research section, A man of honor), Nassim Si Ahmed (En passant pécho, Marseille), Samy Seghir (Neuilly his mother, La Terre et le sang), and Isabelle Candelier. Excuse the little!
A cast complemented by Mathieu Demy and Wendy Nieto in the shoes of the two cops in charge of the investigation. Without forgetting Virginie Ledoyen, Richard Bohringer, Samuel Jouy, and Samir Boitard in secondary roles which are all important in this story (but, hush, we will not say more).
Well worth a look ?
Published in 1939 in the United Kingdom, Ten Little Negroes (And Then There Were None in original version), officially renamed They were ten in France since 2020, is undoubtedly the most famous work of Agatha Christie. And also the most sold around the world. A detective novel with an unstoppable recipe that has had several adaptations to cinema and television over the decades, the most recent of which is none other than the BBC miniseries broadcast in 2015.
But with this new version produced by Escazal (The Little Murders of Agatha Christie), the bestseller of the queen of crime has for the first time the right to a contemporary adaptation which, to weave its nightmare, draws its references in the cinema horror and revisits the basic plot in slasher sauce. Pascal Laugier obliges, since it is to the French filmmaker, to whom we owe Martyrs and Ghostland, that the realization of this mini-series in six episodes has been entrusted. But does the result live up to expectations?
On paper, the real good idea of this adaptation written by Jeanne Le Guillou and Bruno Dega (The Killer of the Lake, Gloria) was to have wanted to transform the plot of Agatha Christie’s novel into a real Scream-like slasher or à la Urban Legend, with its masked psychopath who methodically eliminates the members of a group. A genre that made the heyday of horror cinema but which until now remained little represented on television, with the exception of the mediocre series Scream seen on MTV, the little-known Harper’s Island, and the laughable Le Châlet, broadcast in 2018 on France 2.
Seeing Pascal Laugier having fun with the codes of the slasher and the thriller is therefore necessarily something pleasurable and we would almost be applauding at the first appearance on the screen of the killer of They were ten, who hides his face under a hoodie and wearing a raincoat that obviously recalls the fisherman’s costume from the Souviens-toi … saga last summer.
Unfortunately, on the screen, the conclusion is clear: They were ten does not go far enough. So much so that it is difficult to perceive Pascal Laugier’s paw in this thriller which, beyond its figure of American murderer, remains after all fairly classic. Murders are too often committed off-screen, or even dispatched, and the lack of hemoglobin and blood pressure, even anxiety, quickly becomes frustrating. We expected more edge, more gore, and more daring from the director of Martyrs, who fails to offer us the radical horror series that we were entitled to hope.
Did he pay the price for formatting inherent in premium fiction on a general-interest channel? Did M6 ask him to limit the horrific and bloody effects? It’s hard to say, but if that’s the case it’s a shame because we don’t call on a director as daring and talented as Laugier to limit him in his creative process.
Too wise, this French and modern version of Agatha Christie’s bestseller is therefore a little disappointment, which also sins through dialogues not always very inspired, by some ridiculous sequences (like a scene based on snakes in the forest), and by its sometimes a little repetitive and heavy construction, which alternates between present and flashbacks, and obviously evokes Lost. The brilliance in less. Because the past that we are told for each of the characters does not always escape clichés and thus struggles to bring a real plus to the insular plot of the series.
This somewhat uneven scenario is fortunately enhanced by a mystery held from end to end thanks to a new characterization of the protagonists in relation to the novel, which prevents us from guessing with certainty the identity of the killer, whether or not the leader has been read. artwork of the queen of crime.
And also by the performances of the actors, who alone deserve that we are interested in this nice slasher. They all seem to have a lot of fun in this exercise which allows them to explore dramatic tension and comedy (lines that kill being legion), and the young actors of the series, Manon Azem, Matilda Lutz, Nassim Si Ahmed, and Samy Seghir, are emerging more than ever as talents to follow closely.
In short, if it is not the great horror series that we expected, They were ten nonetheless remains an honest entertainment that is easy to binge-watch and that could appeal to fans of thrillers and thrillers not too demanding. So much it remains higher than what most French chains produce throughout the years. But those looking for real thrills will undoubtedly have to look elsewhere.