Saturday, December 19, 2009

#4-Ils (Them) (2006)


Them, known in it's native France as Ils, is a horror film that was made in 2006, circled the festival circuit, made a killing in France, and was prominently reviewed, but never got a state-side realese. Now, its three years later in 2009, and the film is finally getting the attention it deserves. Them shys away from the torture-porn type horror we have come to know, and instead goes back to a Hitchcockian type of horror, blending suspense and slashing. Them is also based on a true story, and this isn't one of those movies that claims to be based on a true story and isn't, and it isn't a shakey-cam film either, it is simply true, which makes the final product that much more disturbing.

The plot of Them, or Ils, is quite simple really. It is about a young couple named Clementine, who is a school teacher, and Jared, a struggling writer. They live in a large farm-house on the country side of Bucharest, Romania. The day is coming to an end, and they start hearing strange noises outside. They think nothing of it. The noises the turn into flashing lights, and even louder sounds. The sounds are then inside the house. Like I said, simple. It's also been done before, a lot before, but this one is definatly better than most of them.

Part of what makes this such a great film is the chemistry between the two lead actors, Olivia Bonamy and Michael Cohen do a great job playing husband and wife. In fact, the acting here is solid by nearly everyone involved, even the characters during the open sequences were very strong, and they were only onscreen for about 5 minutes. That being said, there isn't that many characters here, just the couple, the two in the opening sequence, and three other side characters, but, they all performed marvelously.

Another part that I really liked about the film is that it was great from a techinal standpoint as well. The lighting, pacing, camera-work, and direction by David Moreau, and Xavier Palud, were all done magnificintly. Also, the sets that were used are very nice as well. The mansion has a proper gothic atmosphere and adds a very creepy element to the film. And like I said, the camera-work was very good, and some aerial viewpoints had this movie crawling with tension.

"They won't play with us."
Speaking of tension, this film has a lot of it. Each scene is filled to the brim with it in fact, it will make you sit back a little bit and think, "Wow, look at what scary movies used to be like." However, even though each scene is filled to the brim, there are not that many scenes in this movie. It's only about an hour and fifteen minutes long. But that isn't bad, because this movie doesn't need to be, and I feel the movie had a great ending, and made things very, very chilling, and maybe even...eye-opening, for lack of a better term, to those who don't really know about some certain aspects of Europe.

As much as I praise the film (which it deserves) I did have a few promblems with it. First of all, bits of the dialouge between the two couples seemed a little cheesy, because it is French, I watched with English subtitles, maybe there was a bad dub, but things like "Leave me. Go! You are our 0nly hope." were kind of strange for a movie that was pretty realistic. Also, some moments seemed implausible, or even some near impossible, but this is something that occurs with all horror movies. These, however, were my only complaints with the film, and they are pretty mimimal.

Overall, Ils, Them, whatever you want to call it, is an excellent horror film, hell, it's an excellent film all together. Great acting, story, and direction make it a winner already. But add in great thrills, suspense, genuine chill, and just a good old time make it even better. But, with some cheesy lines, and some strange decisions on some characters parts, drop this film from perfection.
I Give Them A:

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