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Intruders – 5

Director – Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Cast – Clive Owen, Carice van Houten, Daniel Brühl, Pilar López de Ayala, Ella Purnell, Izán Corchero, Kerry Fox, Héctor Alterio, Adrian Rawlins

Release Year – 2012

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I was pretty stoked when I first heard about Intruders because I’ve remained a Clive Owen fan throughout the years as well as a fan of director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s 28 Weeks Later. I then began to winder why the film did not see a wide theater release, and after finally viewing this film I can tell just why. Fresnadillo does a pretty swell job executing this experience, but the story does too little with what it had to offer and did so with bland writing execution. This is not a bad film, but this is not a good effort either and left me confused on how to feel about it – about as confused as the film’s writers must have been.

Intruders follows two children from different countries who are both subjected to nightly hauntings from a faceless being who wants to take possession of them.

The story comes written by Spanish writers Jaime Marques and Nicolas Casariego, both first-timers for the horror genre. They start their story off well, giving us a dose of the horror to come very early on. I was surprised to see their story play on two different storylines, one involving a young Spanish boy, Juan, living with his single mother and the other following John Farrow (Clive Owen), whose daughter is being subjected to the same hauntings as the Spanish boy. It is not immediately known how or why these two storylines are related (they’d have to be related somehow right?), and I honestly enjoyed this mystery element that hung around for most of the film. The writers managed to write in plenty of horror, giving us many full-frontal scenes of the faceless being, deemed “Hollowface” by the kids, and plenty of action to go along with those scenes. The problems in the story have nothing to do with the horror though, but instead with everything but the horror. Despite giving me an interesting overall storyline I found myself not liking the writing execution. There were many good ideas thrown into the story, but the dialogue and the finer details of the story were bland and reeked of writers that had some talent but not enough to deliver a solid effort. This was especially the case with the final act of the film, which gave us an interesting twist but also came with a mindless and very uninteresting climax that explained very little behind the conflict.

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s direction was the polar opposite of Marques’ and Casariego’s story, showing that his solid direction in 28 Days Later was no fluke. He kicks off the film with solid atmosphere that bled gloom via dark shadows and rarely a sunny day. This blended perfectly with the subject matter that centered on an antagonist who preys on his victims while hiding in darkness. I loved the look of the faceless Hollowface, and while we were given plenty of live-action moments I really wish there had been less CGI, especially during the scenes where live-action FX were definitely possible. Nonetheless Fresnadillo executed the horror very well, employing the actor portraying Hollowface in a very positive and creepy manner. He makes great use of his atmosphere by keeping the hooded Hollowface lurking from within the shadows and then hulkingly emerging to rip off the face of his victim. The acting performances from everyone involved were positive and enjoyable, and the execution on Fresnadillo’s part complimented their performances.

Overall, the storyline really held the film back and never let it have a cohesive feel. Fresnadillo’s direction was great and it provided some positive horror, but it was not enough to save the film and only made it bearable. I would not outrightly recommend this, but it may suffice on a slow night with nothing better to watch.

Rating: 5/10

  1. December 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    My thought exactly 🙂 It starts pretty darn well but it looses itself somewhere along the way which is a true shame because the movie had potential.

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