July 14, 2012

Filthy Review - Intruders

Intruders (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s 2007 sequel 28 Weeks Later was, and still is, in my opinion one of the better sequels out there. Having not seen his 2001 film Intacto I was intrigued to see what he would do with an original film that stood on its own, which leads me to Intruders starring Clive Owen.

The film follows two stories that run concurrently, both of which feature a young child who is haunted by Hollowface. One story takes place in Spain, with the other being set in London, but both follow the same basic premise; once the lights go out the monster in the closet will come for them. Intruders is basically a film that plays on everyone’s childhood fear of the monster under the bed, the difference here being that in this film not only the children can see the boogeyman. Clive Owen plays John, the father of Mia, the young girl in London, who unwittingly brings Hollowface to life (so to speak), but rather than just Mia being able to see him, John can also see him.

Over in Spain, Juan is also being stalked by the shadowy figure and has constant nightmares, which in turn results in his mother taking him to a priest to try and help. So the story pops back and forth following the stories of both children, whilst also managing to blur reality and the dream world. Intruders is a film in which it really does benefit from you paying attention to what is going on. It’s not overly complicated, but you could get lost if you don’t follow it closely.

The film itself is nicely shot, although the overuse of aerial shots was a tad tiresome and the shifts of perspective with the camera sweeping along being quite effective. In terms of the visuals though, Hollowface was most effective when kept in the shadows as some of the digitized effects were noticeable sub-par.

The film as a horror film worked to a point, with some creepy moments to be had here and there, however, in my opinion Intruders worked much better as a dark fairytale, with its themes of childhood fears. In fact this seems to be a popular idea with Spanish filmmakers of late. Whilst watching the film I was reminded of films such as The Orphanage and The Others, although in tone it reminded me most of the recent Del Toro produced Don’t be Afraid of the Dark remake. If you liked that film you will probably enjoy this one.

Intruders isn’t perfect, with plenty of clichéd moments being thrown in and the aforementioned lackluster effects. However, Owen is always watchable and the two young leads both put in good performances, even if Ella Purnell, who plays Mia, looks like she has stepped straight out of Drama School.

Overall though, despite the film’s shortcomings, I actually quite enjoyed Intruders. I could have done without the convoluted ending, but some creepy moments and disturbing effects I left the film quite happy. Fresnadillo quite obviously has the skills, and a definite eye for effective horror, although I feel we are yet to see the best from this Spanish director.

Intruders is released on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD by Millennium Films on July 17th.

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