DVD Review: Intruders / Cert: 15 / Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo / Screenplay: Nicolas Casariego, Jaime Marques / Starring: Clive Owen, Carice Van Houten, Izan Corchero, Daniel Bruhl, Ella Purnell, Pilar Lopez de Alaya / Release Date: Out Now
The third film from Intacto and 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo suffers very much from difficult third film syndrome but despite what you may have heard isn’t a total write off. It is one of those films where you can see the good film inside trying to escape but too many choices are made which count against the film and thus it does not live up to its potential.
We start off in Spain as a child and his mother are terrorised by a malevolent entity known as Hollowface which tries to take the child. The action then switches back and forth between the mother and child in Spain trying to come to terms with their traumatic experience and a family in the suburbs of London whose father and daughter start to experience similar visions of Hollowface after the daughter finds a story on paper stuffed in a tree at her grandparents’ house. Are these two stories connected? Of course they are…
The fatal flaw with Intruders is that Fresnadillo lays his cards on the table far too early by revealing the entity and using some truly awful CGI. All the tension evaporates and the wind is sucked out of the film from this point onwards so the admittedly very creepy scenes that follow as Hollowface emerges from cupboards and alleyways in London lose any power they may have had. The two storylines that are seemingly connected by the evil presence do keep your attention and keep you guessing from the very beginning and the ending may well surprise you. However in connecting these two threads they make some poor editing choices which again lead to an absence of tension.
The performances in the film are all very good. Clive Owen, Carice Van Houten, Daniel Bruhl and Pilar Lopez De Ayala are all very solid but the child performances are what stand out. Ella Purnell and Izan Conchero are a couple of remarkable child actors who we should see more of and really sell the blind panic that occurs when you are young and have an irrational fear of something in the darkness. The tragedy is that the film and story around these performers cannot live up to all of their efforts.
This is one of those films set in the London suburbs that, like the recent Heartless, is really well shot and makes the whole area seem like a dark threatening sprawl with unspeakable evil lurking around the corner. Working with an international crew, Fresnadillo really brings something unique to the locations which add to the overall feel of dread.
Intruders isn’t a bad film in the way that many are just plain bad but it reeks of a missed opportunity.
Special Features: Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, Who is Hollowface?, The Making of Intruders.