ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Them (Ils) (2006)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: David Moreau
Xavier Palud

Starring:
Olivia Bonamy/Clementine
Michaël Cohen/Lucas
PLOT-CRUNCH
A sweet, young French couple living in some big house in the middle of nowhere (Where else would they live?) get terrorized and then hunted down by "them". Who's them? I won't tell!
THE LOWDOWN

They’re coming for you!

Well dress me up as chicken, slap me in an oven, take me out crispy and throw me in a KFC bucket, ILS whooped my ass silly! Got home from a party, felt tired, figured I’d slap a flick in to transport me to dead sheep land. That didn’t happen. Instead, I wound up on the edge of my bed-bug ridden sofa (little buggers, must kill them soon, am being eaten alive over here) and in a total state of stress. Straight up I couldn’t sleep after this film, hence had to gulp some more JD to knock me the f*ck out. GREAT TIMES!

The French made ILS is supposedly based on a true story, now I don’t know how faithful it was to the real life events that occurred but if I take it at face value, I’m not surprised as we live in a mucked up society where pretty much anything can happen. Now I purposely didn’t read up on the film beforehand to keep the mystery going and I recommend that you do the same. This vice-grip was a refreshingly old school ringer that focused on “us not knowing who or what" the aggressors were for the most part to scare the crap out of us. And I’m in a tizzy to report that the approach worked on this twat. Doors seemingly slamming by themselves, windows being shut by unseen assailants, creepy hallways, threatening figures, dark corners, creaking doors…this one knew how to push my boo buttons, using every day devices (that I could relate to) against me, hence scaring the be-Jesus out of me.

Another aspect that totally wooed me was the film’s relentless and aggressing pace. After the 15 minutes or so set up in terms of the endearing “every day type” characters and the ominous surroundings they lived in (big ass creepy house) the flick fiercely launched its deadly shenanigans on me i.e. a chilling game of peek-a-boo that resulted in mucho suspenseful scenarios. Not wanting to let me out of my corner, the flick finished me off with an extended stalk sequence that just wouldn’t stop pummeling me until the mucho haunting final frames surfaced to finally knock me out. Add to that a very POV demeanor as to the wanderings about that slapped my stupid ass in the shoes of the less stupid protagonists and a powerful use of sounds and shadows that evoked maximum creepyness and you get one heck of a frightening ride! I was so drained as the end credits rolled and that is pretty much the best compliment I can give the film.

On the slim downside; running at 70 or so minutes, it did feel a tad too short. At the same time though; it was a smart move as the film didn’t overstay its welcome and definitely finished on top of its game. So it’s a give and take jive. Finally, my other minor qualm had to do with expectations. I mean the flick engrossingly and slyly built up its mysterious threat factor. I was beyond baffled throughout as to whom or what was responsible for this madness. Once the bitch out of the bag though, I couldn’t help but feel a pinch under whelmed. With that spat out, I got over it 5 minutes later as I was violently sucked back into the story hardcore via its visceral chain of events. So it wasn’t a big deal.

At the end of the kill, I got a strong breath of fresh dead air off ILS! Old school, minimalist with an axis on tension as opposed to gore/torture; this bad boy stayed with me long after it was finito and I will go out of my way to recommend it to anybody that will listen (Mom?). It was a great horror film, one with a rare MO in this day and age of obviousness, spell it for the audience and gore it up to make up for a bad script. Thank Zeus all mighty that genre ditties of this ilk are still put out! Will you find out for yourself who ILS is? Do it man! DO IT! And thank me later with a pie, a broad and a beer.

GORE
We get some minor blood shed at the hands of nails and glass. Gore wasn't on the menu; this one was all about back-handing suspense.
ACTING

Olivia Bonamy (Clementine) and Michael Cohen (Lucas) were both likeable, credible and shared an engrossing chemistry together. They also sported this everyday peeps quality that had me rooting for them like Ron Jeremy roots for his co-stars to open their mouths before he has his happy endings. Good stuff!

T & A
I watched some lesbo porn after I was done with the film. Does that count? Your call!
DIRECTING
David Moreau and Xavier Palud handled their nail biter with talent and class, capitalizing on their bleak/vast setting, spooky sounds, involving POV shots while pulling off quite the non-stop "kill the audience" pace. AWESOME!
SOUNDTRACK
We get a minimalist, piano executed score that worked magic for the film's creepy factor. Young Carpenter came to mind!
BOTTOM LINE
ILS was the real deal! A pure, masterfully executed and true horror film that nailed what it set out to do when it came to creeping me out, scaring the life out of me and having me sit up on the edge of my edge, even though the ludicrous amount of booze in my blood stream should've kept me down. Sporting two engaging leads, a take no prisoners pace and mucho audio/visual flair this one was worth the sit down and then some! Sure the answer behind the question fell a tad short of the overwhelming build-up and the clock time was a tad too slim; but that didn't change the end result: Arrow freaking bruised up, Arrow freaking high strong, Arrow freaking sold! One of this year's best! SEE IT!
BULL'S EYE
David Moreau and Xavier Palud are slated to direct the remake of THE EYE next.

ROGUE PICTURES has a ILS remake in the works.

VISIT THE FRENCH ILS WEBSITE HERE

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12:08PM on 04/30/2008

Meh

I don't know, man. The whole thing felt really formulaic and predictable. I had a good idea who "they" were without having read anything about the flick (just watched it last night). Underwhelming and a bit boring, though quickly paced and over in a hurry. The extra half star is because I felt the ending was pretty creepy.
I don't know, man. The whole thing felt really formulaic and predictable. I had a good idea who "they" were without having read anything about the flick (just watched it last night). Underwhelming and a bit boring, though quickly paced and over in a hurry. The extra half star is because I felt the ending was pretty creepy.
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+0
12:10AM on 03/09/2008

- S P O I L E R S ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! -

Calling it "Them" was unfortunate... before seeing it I knew it was all about the ending and finding out who "They" were...

... and from that point of view it's disappointing. It's not original... fear of kids is a staple of the horror genre, and Ils just takes it to its most obvious conclusion by having actual kids as the 'monsters'.

I should point out that my [link] of the movie was limited by the fact that, at least in the UK, the press is already doing its best to make people think
Calling it "Them" was unfortunate... before seeing it I knew it was all about the ending and finding out who "They" were...

... and from that point of view it's disappointing. It's not original... fear of kids is a staple of the horror genre, and Ils just takes it to its most obvious conclusion by having actual kids as the 'monsters'.

I should point out that my [link] of the movie was limited by the fact that, at least in the UK, the press is already doing its best to make people think all kids are monsters... read a paper and you'd think anyone under 30 and wearing a hoodie is going to murder you just for the f*ck of it. The tabloid press even managed to turn "hoodie" into a description of anyone wearing a hoodie... in case you didn't know, the British tabloid press like to invent new words and phrases for no good reason, but what they really like is blowing shi*t out of all proportion and creating huge scare stories to keep people buying their sh*tty papers. But I digress... point is, I was already sick to death of being told that adults should be scared of kids in hoods, so when I saw a movie about adults being justifiably scared of kids in hoods, instead of thinking "Hmm, topical", I thought "Oh for f*cks sake"...

But anyway... Aside from that, I can't fault the film... a film stripped down to basics and with the tension cranked all the way up; we get to know and like some 'real' characters and then they are scared, attacked and generally f*cked with. Moreau and Palud kept it simple and it was the more effective for it. In many ways it reminded me of Wolf Creek, and deserves to be ranked alongside it as successful examples of a kind of minimalist horror. It's not a film I'll watch several times over or think about in great depth, but it does what it does well.
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5:08PM on 12/16/2006

c'mon! (HUGE SPOILERS)

You're telling me you didn't know that they were kids?
think about it: the only characters besides the leads, and mom and daughter, were the children at school and the other teacher.
when i saw clem as the new teacher i suspected it, but when she said: "they were itchy today", i just knew.
the only thing that kept me wondering was what the fuck that cracking sound was, and why the hell they screamed like retards.
... that aside, pretty decent flick.
You're telling me you didn't know that they were kids?
think about it: the only characters besides the leads, and mom and daughter, were the children at school and the other teacher.
when i saw clem as the new teacher i suspected it, but when she said: "they were itchy today", i just knew.
the only thing that kept me wondering was what the fuck that cracking sound was, and why the hell they screamed like retards.
... that aside, pretty decent flick.
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+0
2:26PM on 12/11/2006
Yeah, this movie is a great piece of work. The ending fully not being there, because from what I read somewhere that it's supposedly based on a French Myth, rather then a true story then the movie portays. I haven't found anything on that,though.

Still a really good movie, the creepiness of it, the atmosphere and basically not knowing really what is there until the end. Good stuff.
Yeah, this movie is a great piece of work. The ending fully not being there, because from what I read somewhere that it's supposedly based on a French Myth, rather then a true story then the movie portays. I haven't found anything on that,though.

Still a really good movie, the creepiness of it, the atmosphere and basically not knowing really what is there until the end. Good stuff.
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