Jul 02 2012
I love this film. Love it, love it. It is everything that is awesome about well crafted, perfectly paced horror films. But please, stop reading this list right now if you know nothing about this movie and go find it and watch it. The article will still be here, waiting.
For those who stuck around, all I need to say is wow. Just wow.
Every moment, every shot, every scene, is pretty much tension stacked on top of fear, stacked on top of WTF.
Much like Eden Lake, Ils is about a couple just looking for a little downtime. Clemetine has moved from her home in France to a new house in the remote countryside of Romania to live with her lover. Everything seems fine, until one night, when some guests show up and start messing with the couple. And by messing with the couple, I mean REALLY messing with the couple:
I hate the “catch the nail with your eyeball” game. I suck at it. On purpose.
And the thing about this movie is, The assailants wear hoodies throughout the entire film, and we are not made aware of the fact that they are children until well into the whole ordeal. Also, much like I said about a few other films on this list, the ending is a kick to the soul. Amazing and brilliant. It is in those final frames that we given the insight into how they really are “just kids”, running to catch the bus for school. It is the kind of moment that knocks you onto your knees as a viewer.
And if this film sounds familiar to you, and that picture looks oddly familiar, it is because you may have seen the American ripoff/homage to this film, known as:
In so many ways, The Strangers is a retelling of Ils. And though it is the inferior of the two films, The Strangers was a very creepy horror movie that showed us sometimes, being home is worse then being out. And the idea of all the torment they put the adults through for their own pleasure in Ils gets played up in this film as well.
They were only messing with them because they were bored, and they were home.
But having said all that, The Strangers, though derivative, is still a disturbing ride that has some stellar moments. And there are some shots in that film that just stick with you. Like this one, for example:
Oddly enough, if you removed the masks, the would just look like hipsters.
The problem with The Strangers, unlike these other films on the list, is that they did not have a strong ending. Yes, the “slow stabbing” that takes place after the scene pictured above was brutally intimate and hard to watch, but the screaming Liv Tyler was whack. And the “It’ll be easier next time” line, hinting that they intend to do it again, was weak sequel fodder. I don’t even write screenplays and can tell you “That wasn’t as much fun as I thought it was gonna be” would have been a far more effective and chilling final line.
But, The Strangers is just Ils light, so see Ils.
These are not so much the honorable mentions, as the films I think you guys would have called me out for not including.
Orphan: Wait, this one doesn’t work because she is a 46 year old gypsy or some similar non-sense. Ooops, spoiler alert.
The Good Son: This one is just way too over the top for me. and I liked it more when it was called:
The Bad Seed: This movie is awesome strictly because GOD kills the girl at the end of the movie. Makes me lulz everytime.
The Omen: Well, duh.
Exorcist: Doesn’t count. It is a demon doing the killing, not a child. The child is just a conduit. A vehicle, if you will.
Home Movie: This is one I actually really like, and it almost made the list. It didn’t because my word count is insane.
Children of the Corn: Ok, will admit, that redhead kid in this flick is pretty damned scary, in an inbred sort of way. The diner scene is great, too.
Village of the Damned: Damn Aryan kids!
Kids: Tossing AIDS around is the same as killing people, so this counts.
Who Can Kill A Child: This one wins. Hands down. It did it first and did it best. Even the title is f*cked up and disturbing. I love you, Grindhouse. I love you.
Who can kill a child? This guy, that’s who! But if you saw what some of these kids did, you wouldn’t question it.
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