johnlink ranks ILS (THEM) (2006)

November was to be my foreign movie month. However, with the theater program starting back up, and with my 91 year old grandmother relocated to my apartment while some renovation work was done at my parents’ house, November instead became low-frequency movie month. But no worries, I have postponed foreign movie month until early in 2010. In the mean time, I caught a French horror film I’d been wanting to see on FearNet HD. SPOILERS BELOW

THEM! is about giant ants attacking the world. This is not that film. This is THEM (or, ILS in the French), which is about a couple being harassed while trapped in their home. It is the second film I have seen this year with that exact description.

I watched ILS (THEM) (2006) on 11.18.09. It was my first viewing of the film.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAIN THE SAME.

FILM

The opening credits display some beautiful cinematography as Clementine (Olivia Bonamy) drives home from work in Bucharest. We get some wonderfully vivid shots of the old houses and roads in Romania. Once the film brings her to her large, beautiful home in the woods, we return to a more typical style of film making. There are scenes in this film that are nearly too dark to see anything, though the filmmakers do a good job of quickly ending those moments. This does create some scenes of ‘how could there possibly be that much light emitted from that little lighter’ but it is better than ‘too dark to see what is going on.’

Thematically, and SPOILER HERE, this is another hopeless horror film. It is like THE STRANGERS in that way, though it is less brutal than that film. If the killers’ motivation in THE STRANGERS was “we were bored’, then the motivation for the killers in THEM is “we just wanted to play”. Both of these concepts are so arbitrary that, while creating a sense of dread, we never have a tangible connection to the plight of the main characters. THEM is loosely based on a true story (and don’t get me started on ‘true stories’ where nobody survives), but it felt slightly below genuine. I do like that the killers are able to be hurt, and the reasoning behind it is a nice epiphany moment. I certainly respect this film’s style, I just don’t dig it’s substance. SCORE: 5

MOVIE

There are scenes of immense suspense, followed by scenes of tedium. There are several scenes which cause the viewer to yell “Why are you doing that?!” to the actors on the screen. This is the sort of flick where it seems like the victims could easily survive by holing themselves up in a corner of the house and grabbing a blunt object, then having the help of daylight to get where they need to. I did like the two leads, and I did like that some character work went into them before the terror started. After seeing this movie, it is clear that THE STRANGERS used much of its formula for its own purposes.  Oh, and one thing which sucked, which I will not hold against this film, is that FearNet HD cut off the bottom 15% of all the subtitles. Nothing where I couldn’t read what was said, but certainly annoying. How does the channel not fix that? SCORE: 6

ACTING

The two leads are all that are really in this film. There are two minor characters in the beginning, but their acting consists mainly of one of them yelling ‘mom’ (in French of course) twenty times in a row. There is some nice work done in this movie, but it is nothing particularly memorable or noteworthy. SCORE: 5

WRITING

The dialogue is sparse but effective. The situations, however, could have been more carefully planned. The way it plays out is fairly predictable, with the catacombs at the end really being the only surprise. I can’t say I found the script to be particularly memorable or groundbreaking. SCORE: 4

FINAL TALLY

FILM: 5; MOVIE: 6; ACTING: 5; WRITING: 4

5+6+5+4=20

FINAL SCORE: 5

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~ by johnlink00 on November 18, 2009.

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