(aka "Them" )


directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud
France/Romania 2006


After an obligatory pre-credits sequence teaser in which a dysfunctional Romanian mother and daughter are run off a country road and are picked off by an unseen assailant, we meet Clementine (Olivia Bonamy of Chantal Akerman's LA CAPTIVE), a French teacher at a Romanian grade school, and her writer husband Lucas (Michaël Cohen) who live alone in one of those sprawling, decaying mansions in the middle of nowhere. One night, they are woken by strange noises. Their car is stolen. The power is cut. Lights flash through the windows from outside. Dark figures race back and forth in the foreground of the frame behind our weapon-brandishing protagonists who wander the large dark house to search out the sources of various strange noises (the TV, a running tap).

For all the things that go bump in the night, ILS is actually a siege film with some unusually creepy intruders (I'm sure an American remake would be set in the deep South). It as tense as HIGH TENSION without the disappointing, downright insulting ending (though, unfortunately, like HIGH TENSION's writer/director pair, Moreau and Palud have made their inauspicious Hollywood debut with a terrible horror film remake). The film is also an illustrated textbook of stalker horror techniques (and clichés) for the new generation (meaning the addition of a muted, nearly monochrome color palette, rumbling surrounds and LFE, darting foreground and background shapes, shaky hand-held scope photography, etc.).

The film uses its "Inspired by Real Events" tag (which also follows the title onscreen) an an excuse for ambiguity - the DVD cover bears a critic blurb comparing the film to THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT - but since the two protagonists are not given much depth (we only viscerally identify with their reactions to the siege situation), this is a film which really demands some more concrete answers plot-wise.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 8 April 2006 (France)

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DVD Review: Studio Canal (Rental Edition) - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Studio Canal

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:13:27 (4% PAL speedup)

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.14 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio French DTS; French (Dolby Digital 5.1); French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles French, English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Studio Canal

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (1:34)
• Trailer: Two for the Money
• Trailer: L'Ecole Pour Tous
• Trailer: The Fog [remake]

DVD Release Date: February 19th, 2007

Chapters 23



There's not a lot to say about a Studio Canal transfer of a recent theatrical release. The 2.35:1 anamorphic presentation is sharp with deep black levels that serve the interior and exterior night sequences well (if only some older Studio Canal holdings were given this much attention). The atypically brief 73 minute running time of this feature allows for superb encoding even on a single layer disc with a DTS track. Studio Canal's release features French DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 stereo mixes and English subtitles (French subtitles are also included but not selectable from the menu).  

The copy I am reviewing was an ex-rental; therefore it does not contain the special features available in the retail version. Note also, if you come across this edition, that although the box only lists the 5.1 and 2.0 releases and states that it features no subtitles, it does indeed have the DTS mix and English subtitles. The only extras on the rental edition are trailers. The special features of the retail version have been ported over and subtitled for the UK release (Dark Sky Films will release an R1 edition on February 26).

 - Eric Cotenas


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