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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ils [Them] (2006)



The film opens with a mother (Adriana Mocca) and daughter (Maria Roman) driving along a deserted country road at night. During an argument the mother crashes their vehicle. She checks the engine and after a period of silence, the daughter calls to her and gets out. Her mother has disappeared. She calls out but her call is repeated from the surrounding woods by a whispery voice. Petrified, she jumps back into the vehicle. Suddenly, noises come from the woods around her and mud is thrown against the windows. The young girl desperately attempts to contact the police using a mobile phone but is strangled to death from behind.
The next day, driving home from her teaching job, Clémentine (Olivia Bonamy) passes the crashed vehicle, unaware of the previous night's events. She is greeted at home by her lover, Lucas (Michaël Cohen). They settle in for the night, but after going to bed, Clémentine is awakened by the sound of music coming from outside. They investigate and see that their car has been moved away from the house. As Lucas approaches it, the car lights come on and the car is driven off by persons unknown. They return to their bedroom but hearing noises Lucas goes back downstairs alone to find the TV has been switched on and a tap has been left running. He swings a poker at the sudden movement of an intruder in the house and shatters the glass in a door, which is then pushed from behind, causing a large piece of glass to bury itself in his leg. He runs back up to Clémentine and the two lock themselves in the bathroom. Clémentine then climbs into the attic to find an escape route. As she searches the attic, one of the intruders grabs her from behind but she manages to fight him off and pushes him off a balcony. She looks over the edge and sees another figure next to the intruder's body who sees her and starts climbing up towards her. Clémentine rushes back to Lucas and they flee from the house locking the second intruder inside.
The pair succeed in escaping and manage to limp out into the surrounding woodland. They soon find they are being followed and hide in some undergrowth as their tormentors run past. They head deeper into the woods, only to encounter a fence. Due to his injury, Lucas cannot climb over it. He waits behind, hiding in the bushes, as Clémentine heads for help. As she runs through the forest, Clémentine sees the light from two torches and realises they are catching up to her. She spots her abandoned car and runs to it. Inside, she tries to start the car but to no avail. When she looks up she sees one of the hooded figures standing in front of the car.
Lucas limps from the bushes upon hearing Clémentine's screams and finds the car. He kills one of the attackers and discovers it is merely a teenage boy. He follows Clémentine's screams and finds an uncovered manhole. In the sewers, he finds Clémentine being tortured by another teenager while a younger boy sits nearby telling the torturer to stop as he's hurting her. Sneaking up behind him, Lucas kills the teenager. With the help of the younger boy, the two escape through the sewer system. However as the attackers catch up on them, the boy turns on them, causing Lucas to fall as they try to escape up a ladder. Clémentine watches in horror as Lucas is dragged away. As Clémentine is about to kill the boy with a large rock, he turns to her and asks, "Why won't you play with us?" Clémentine throws the rock down and begins her escape through the remaining tunnels to the surface. Clémentine eventually finds a gridded sewer entrance leading out onto a highway, but the grid is locked and she is dragged off to the same terrible fate as Lucas.
The film ends with shots of the countryside and a group of four hooded children emerging from the woods and running for a bus, a presumably normal activity of youth. Just before the credits roll, on-screen text, in the manner of films "based on true events," explains that the bodies of Clémentine and Lucas were found five days later and that the murderers were children aged 10–15. Upon interrogation the youngest of the group revealed as an explanation of that night's events that "They wouldn't play with us."

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