Cool As Ice Solo Video Review: Part 2 by Jamie
19/01/2009, 12:08 pm
Filed under: Cool As Ice Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Finally I’ve gotten round to doing part two. This section features Ice kicking ass, a boyfriend being a dick and the most disturbing thing ever comitted to film!

Review: Ils (Them) by Jamie
10/01/2009, 9:59 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lately I’ve been broadening my horizons, stepping outside the boundaries of my linguistic comfort zone and been watching some amazing foreign language films. From Spain’s REC to South Korea’s Save The Green Planet (which may have actually made it into my top 20 favourite films of all time), the world of people speaking words I can’t understand holds many sparkling cinematic gems.

Now as someone who has a certain fondness for horror films, it seems obvious that a good place to start with foreign language films would be those that fall into the horror genre. Sometimes this pays off, as with the aforementioned REC and sometimes it doesn’t, as with Japanese horror films in general. Don’t know why but I just can’t seem to get into them. Anyway today I’m feel like wearing onions round my neck, carrying a baguette and smoking incessantly so we’re off to France! Ha, Ha! Stereotypes are fun!

The French film in question is Ils, known in English speaking circles as Them, released in 2006. To be honest I don’t really want to spoil any of the scenes in this film by describing them in much detail because I feel like it would ruin it so I’ll just give you a general overview of the film. Clementine is a French teacher living in a large remote house in a rural area around Bucharest, Romania with her writer boyfriend, Lucas. One night they are subject to a home invasion by a number of mysterious, hoodie-wearing strangers and things just escalate from there.

Now, the film is described as being in the horror genre but I must admit, I wasn’t particularly scared by it. I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps it was because reading the subtitles made it hard to concentrate on the scary action on screen but that didn’t seem to affect my terror levels during REC but after watching the film again, I think I realised what it was. Every moment that is set up to cause the viewer to jump is very, very obvious. Basically it seems as though each scare is telegraphed and so they just seemed ineffective to me. Maybe it’s because I’m jaded, seen too many attempts to make me jump in horror films in the past. On the other hand, I still jump whenever Ben Gardener’s head falls out of that boat in Jaws, so make of that what you will.

Now, because I didn’t find the film particularly scary, does that make it a bad film? Hell no. Once the action gets under way, the tension builds and builds to ridiculous degrees. As each unrelenting moment of panic passes, you find yourself empathising more and more with the two main characters and becoming more emotionally invested with their simple quest for survival. Yet despite all this escalating pressure this is still essentially a horror film without the horror and honestly I found it quite refreshing. It doesn’t go for the cheap torture gimmicks of most of the Saw films, no supernatural monsters and not one twisted serial killer. It’s pretty original and if you want to feel your heart rate increase to dangerous levels without shitting yourself with fear, I heartily recommend it.

Note: I watched the French film, Ils, with English subtitles. This trailer suggests that Them is dubbed into English. I don’t know if that’s true or if it was just for the trailer or what but in my opinion, original language with subtitles is always better.

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