Ils (Them)

(Editor’s Note: This review was originally written last year for our old site before “Ils” hit DVD in the US. Pardon some of the dated talk toward the end.)

David Moreau and Xavier Palud’s “Ils” (or “Them” in the US) had gained a lot of hype before its release in the States. Even afterwards, the praise only got better. It’s easy to see why, considering that this film literally puts you on the edge of your seat for a little over an hour. During this film, my heartbeat quickened, my eyes widened, and I even shit myself. Okay I’m lying…my eyes didn’t widen. But poo-poo humor aside, this film is genuinely craptastic.

Clémentine (Olivia Bonamy) and Lucas (Michael Cohen) live in their beautiful but isolated Romanian home where they spend peaceful evenings together. This all manages to change one night when a mysterious presence begins to harass our protagonists. At first, it’s simple; a few phone calls with no response except light whispers, the TV turning on and off, and their car being stolen. Spooked enough, they call the cops, but that’s when the electricity is cut and our couple has to endure the game of the mysterious “them.”

I know I didn’t do the plot any justice right there, but it’s seriously impossible to discuss this film’s story. It’s SO bare and genius that I almost feel like I’m giving too much away by that paragraph alone. It feels extremely realistic and it’s as if we’re experiencing everything that happens with the characters. We know as much as they know about what’s happening to them and we find out the resolution when they do. The film also uses a supreme lack of music to heighten its effect, but at the same time creeps you out by using various sound effects to emphasize the presence of “them.” The acting is great and extremely believable and generously adds to the film’s “what the fuck would YOU do in this situation??” idea.

The ending is quite shocking as well. I’m not giving shit away, but I was genuinely taken aback by this conclusion and the entire movie stuck in my mind for a long time. I’d highly recommend this film to any horror movie fan with a brain. If you’re expecting a fucking slasher movie or anything along those lines, you’ll be disappointed. This is a psychological horror/thriller that put me in the same trance as “Session 9” once did and kept fingers twiddling and my nails chewed.

Moreau and Palud are directing the upcoming “The Eye” remake, which now has me even more nervous than “Ils” did. Either I’ve misjudged their credibility, or these guys are going to make the first (and probably only) successful Asian-to-US remake. Either way, “Ils” is going to give “them” enough street cred for a long time.

Andrew’s Hidden Message: Get more “Beware of Dog” signs.

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~ by exploitnation on May 30, 2008.

5 Responses to “Ils (Them)”

  1. While talking about The Strangers to a pal of mine last night, naturally this movie came to mind. I then expressed the enthusiasm I’m renown for (that’s what I’m renown for, right?) about how amazingly terrifying this movie is.

    I really hope The Strangers meets that mark.

    And I hope andrew’ll include this in my going away movie package (that you’re going to give me, right?)

  2. You’d better watch out, you don’t want ANYTHING to do with Andrew’s “packages”.

    -Charlie

  3. …even if i put a bow on it?

  4. I once put a bow on my “package” as a joke when a friend of mine had his birthday party. I am no longer his friend.
    “Them” is definitely one of those primal, basic horror movies that is genious in its simplicity. I have “The Eye” remake on DVD but haven´t seen it yet. I like the fact that you compared this to “Session 9”, which is one of the most unique horror films of recent years. Also pretty basic, but oh so horrifying and beautiful.

  5. psht, andrew.
    as if you’ve ever wrapped a package.

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