- Allan Hunter
- 5 January 2012
Derivative, moderately engaging paranormal horror starring Clive Owen
Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo has never quite delivered on the promise of his clever debut feature Intacto. Retro chiller Intruders is cleverly constructed and suspenseful but fades when pitted against superior genre fare like The Orphanage and Pan’s Labyrinth or the 1970s chillers like The Omen which it consciously echoes.
In Spain, a young boy finds his worst nightmares bursting into the real world as a hooded demon called HollowFace emerges looking like a Death Eater from Harry Potter. The story continues in leafy suburban England where 12-year-old Mia (Ella Purnell) believes that a faceless intruder is coming to steal her features. Her father John (Clive Owen) fights the demons on her behalf while her mother Susanna (Carice Van Houten) wonders if the whole thing is a figment of their joint imaginations.
Fresnadillo favours creepy, slow-building suspense over graphic gore but seems to lose sight of some promising plot elements – including the character of Daniel Bruhl’ s kindly priest – that are never given their full weight. Spanish screenwriters Nicolas Casariego and Jaime Marques do eventually spell out what connects the two children ensuring a satisfying conclusion to an otherwise derivative, moderately engaging scary movie.