There’s been a lot of great Spanish horror films over the last few years as the country has produced some fine horror filmmakers. Unfortunately, 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s return to his roots, trying to create something like the films Guillermo del Toro has mastered in recent years, is plagued by a terrible, convoluted script that tries to throw too much stuff at the viewer in hopes some of it might stick.
It opens on a young Spanish boy named Juan being haunted by a faceless monster known as Hollow Face, a name so terrible it’s immediately almost impossible to take the movie seriously, but we watch an incident on a scaffolding that at first seems unrelated to anything that follows. We then cut to England where a girl named Mia experiences a similar incident after finding a hand-written story about Hollow Face hidden in a tree and as she continues the story, she becomes plagued by the same shadowy figure.
For the rest of the movie, it jumps between the little Spanish boy and Mia, whose father (Clive Owen) tries to protect her from the shadowy figure who keeps appearing in their house, while Juan deals with his own horrors with the help of a caring Catholic priest (Daniel Brühl), who clearly is helping since he has the hots for Juan’s mother. After a while, you wonder why Mia keeps writing scary stories about Hollow Face after being attacked and even having her voice taken away, but therein lies the logic of this movie.
The performances are generally awful, including the generally solid Clive Owen and the underused Carice van Houten who suffers one of the most gratuitous nude scenes we’ve seen in years. While to some, that bit of full frontal might be enough to give the movie a pass, the overall film is bland and uninspired, and it’s fairly clear that Fresnadillo is not a very good filmmaker, shooting and cutting together scenes in a way that looks so unprofessional, it takes away from anything that may be considered stylish.
Lots of scenes seem to be unrelated to anything else until the end reveal when everything is sloppily taped together, but as it attempts to explain everything we’ve seen in a reasonable way, the overall results are an absolute mess, completely unsatisfying and a waste of time. “Intruders” is absolutely terrible, offering very little that can be considered either scary or thought-provoking.
Rating: 3.5 out of 10