Tuesday, 21 August 2012


USA/UK/Spain: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, 2011

IMDB reference

INTRUDERS begins in Spain with a lot of promise: the everyday ritual of a mother putting her young son to bed is effectively underscored by a brooding sense of menace revolving around a child’s imagination, fantasy and monsters. The ensuing materialisation of this threat is expected but no less creepy despite some rather lacklustre CGI.

Cue the opening credits and an abrupt shift to London for no discernible reason other than this appears to be a British and Spanish co-production. The rather plodding plot then focuses on John and Susana Farrow (Clive Owen and Carice van Houten) and their daughter Mia (NEVER LET ME GO’s Ella Purnell). The atmosphere and tension picks up again momentarily as she too begins to be stalked by the same hallucinatory figure (dubbed ‘The Hollow Man’) we first glimpsed in Spain.

Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo then attempts to tell us two parallel stories through sequences alternating between Spain and England. This only serves to make me want to give up on the blandness of the Farrow plotline and stay in Spain where Father Antonio (Daniel Brühl) is investigating the plight of Luisa (Pilar López de Ayala) and her son Juan (Izán Corchero). Whilst not doing anything new: images and sound design compliment the appearances of ‘The Hollow Man’ hinting at a potential which sadly the film lacks the budget and creativity to deliver on.

As the film progresses it also loses all momentum and a fine international cast is not able to elevate the material as the plot becomes more generic, clichéd and downright silly the more it attempts to tie the Spanish and British storylines together.

Ultimately, INTRUDERS is an easily forgettable film likely only to leave you with the lasting impression that young actress Ella Purnell – albeit not really ask to do much here - is surely a star of the future.

The Count’s Verdict: Starts strong but soon becomes indistinguishable from the glut of modern horror stories told from the point of view of a child’s imagination. Has fleeting moments of genuine unease but the impact is overshadowed by the baggy and perfunctory storytelling. The talented cast are unable to lift what is a disappointingly mediocre script. Don’t go out of your way to see this as there’s superior material on the same theme already out there.

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