Intruders (2011) starring Clive Owen, Carice van Houten, Ella Purnell, Pilar López de Ayala, Izan Corchero, Daniel Brühl, Mark Wingett, Lolita Chakrabarti, Kerry Fox directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo Movie Review

Intruders (2011)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Ella Purnell and Clive Owen in Intruders (2011)

A Hollow Experience

In Spain young Juan (Izan Corchero) not only has a thing for writing horror stories but believes he is being plagued by a monster known as Hollowface, named because he has no face of his own but is trying to steal one. It makes his mother, Luisa (Pilar Lopez de Ayala), concerned for her son and his nightmares. In the UK John (Clive Owen) is having a similar issue with his daughter Mia (Ella Purnell) who also has encounters with Hollowface after she stumbles across a horror story hidden in a tree. When John also sees the monster and becomes obsessed with protecting his daughter his wife Susana (Carice van Houten) becomes concerned and determined to find out what is going on.

I have always felt that for a horror movie to work it needs to get the audience invested in the characters so that when the bad stuff starts to happen you feel for them. Without that level of character connection it becomes an empty experience, a case of passing time till what ever is going to happen happens and hoping what happens will be shocking enough to spike your interest. Unfortunately "Intruders" lacks this important element even though it establishes characters who in the case of Mia and her parents should get some sort of sympathy from us but doesn't.

The knock on effect of this is a movie which ends up feeling laborious as we enter both the worlds of Mia in the UK and Juan in Spain as we see their encounters with Hollowface and how in the case of Mia her father John also become aware of this monster. The trouble is that with no human connection there is no real care for the characters and as it is no hurry to deliver their fates it becomes boring.

The sad thing is that beyond the slowness and the script which fails to let us feel for the characters "Intruders" is nicely acted and quite stylish. The framing of thenight time scenes especially with the use of shadows is beautiful and the special effects to create the ominous Hollowface are very similar to the Dementors from the "Harry Potter" movies with that tattered cloak floating thing going on.

What this all boils down to is that "Intruders" didn't do it for me and whilst there are some twists and some decent moments of horror alongside the good acing the failure to give us characters to connect with makes it a movie which just fails to involve the audience in the unfolding horror.