Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Review: Ils (Them)

Ils (2006)
Genre: Horror
Format: DVD
Director: David Moreau & Xavier Palud

Sad to say that this one turned out to be another disappointment from France. The film starts off with a by-the-book scene of a mother and daughter stranded in the middle of the road at night as they are attacked by a mysterious stalker. Soon after, the movie focuses on a young couple living in the middle of nowhere who are brutalized by perhaps the same stalker responsible for the previous event.

I do applaud the movie's minimalist approach of not giving the viewers enough back-stories to the main characters. This really helps set a realistic as well as voyeuristic tone to the film. We only get to see a small fragment of their everyday life before night falls and bad things start to happen. The problem with this film is that once the cat and mouse game begins, everything becomes a jumbled mess. First of all, it gets very dark and it is hard to see what is going on. It's effective at first as a scare technique but after a while staring at barely anything on the screen, squinting your eyes to figure out what is really going on becomes very tedious. Then, there's the bad pacing. The huge bulk of the movie is spent watching the couple getting terrorized but nothing really catastrophic happened to them until the very end. It's like watching a stretched out chase scene of a serial killer trying to get to its next victim - such scenes are not meant to be feature-length. Lastly, there is a problem with the characters' questionable actions during the film's climax that take away all of the realism that was established throughout the film.

Ils is the non-gory equal to the bloodbath Haute Tension. Both have promising premises and both just failed miserably. I am hoping that Frontière(s) will not be joining their ranks.

RATING: 1 out of 5

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