Directors Moreau and Palud’s “Ils (Them),” is an unnerving and spooky horror entry almost in the vein of “The Strangers,” and “Last House on the Left,” that sets down on the countryside where hooded beings are terrorizing the locals and tourists. Clementine and Lucas go away for the weekend to their country home for holiday, and after a night of dinner and love making learn that they’re being terrorized by an endless group of hooded individuals who engage in a rather horrific game of cat and mouse.
The directors Moreau and Palud keep a fine level of ambiguity throughout the narrative, challenging the audience to wonder if these specters are just demonic forces, or criminals gaining a cheap thrill. Not only are the antagonists of the film apparently quick and clever, but their motives seems absolutely random, allowing little room for our protagonists to bargain or appeal to their empathy. “Ils (Them)” doesn’t particularly need build up as the directors’ drop us right in to the nightmare. The script by Moreau and Palud properly sets up our characters for the eventual fall, mounting tension and raising the stakes every minute.
The pair of directors centers the narrative around the mind games being inflicted on the innocent couple, both of whom are driven mad not just by their merciless deadly games, but the fact that they have no idea what brought on this series of attacks. The seemingly endless amounts of individuals never relent in their attempts to draw the innocent couple from their home inflicting terrifying and tense psychological torment on them.
The pacing matched with the ace editing will assuredly leaving you waiting for the other shoe to fall. The constant taunting from the figures, the memorable jump scares, and intense chase sequences propel “Ils (Them)” into a thriller that warrants repeated viewing. “Ils (Them)” closes as an incidentally poignant horror effort offering brilliant self-reflection, and leaving us to ponder how it all came to be. Damned if they ever give us a reason when the credits roll. “Ils (Them)” a stellar horror treat that’s deserves its cult status.