Intruders Review

Movie: Intruders
By: Orlok666
Date: April 18, 2012

Fear and family bonds

After a couple of years of absence director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is back with "Intruders". None other than Clive Owen stars in this film about childhood angst, an unknown threat and ultimately family bonds.


Origins of fear

Most will know Fresnadillo for "Intacto" and "28 Weeks Later". Now, with "Intruders"he didn’t make so much of a thrill ride but focuses on the origins of fear. The plot consists of two stories: In Madrid a young, troubled boy named Juan (Izán Corchero) is having nightmares of a cloaked monster that is after him and wants to steal his face. In London, the young Mia (Ella Purnell) is experiencing the same kind of haunting visions as well.



Reading the plot "Intruders" might sound like your ordinary boogeyman movie but contrary to most other horror films the faceless phantom named Hollow Face is not only seen by the children in the story but also their parents. Interesting is the way both families try to deal with their children’s fear: in Spain the single mother takes Juan to a priest, hoping he can make the phantom disappear through prayers or exorcism. In this storyline Hollow Face also appears as a more supernatural being, hovering above the ground and cloaked in shadows. In England however they therapy is used to help Mia get rid of the intruder. This time looking more urban with a hooded jacket hiding his face.

Due these different approaches the Spanish part feels a bit more like a typical horror film while the bigger English part has a bit more down-to-earth, thriller approach. But both share a common underlying story of delving into ones deeper fears and feeling of helplessness when a child is suffering.


Family business

The stories center around family bonds and trying to protect themselves and more importantly their children against this faceless horror. Juan’s mother (Pilar López de Ayala) does what her instinct tells her to do and that is to pray and contact a priest (a small role for Daniel Brühl), hoping he might deliver her son from evil.

The English story is the main plot, getting the time to develop and here also are the more interesting possibilities. John Farrow (Clive Owen) is consumed with work and not noticing how fast Mia is growing up. Suddenly the seemingly carefree Farrow family is shocked when Hollow Face reveals himself to John and tries attacking his daughter Mia. The intrusions of put pressure on the family how to deal with these increasingly aggressive assaults.

Clive Owen plays well as a father that tries to strengthen the bonds again with his daughter again. His scenes with the outstanding Ella Purnell form the emotional core of this story, giving the film that really about each other and try standing up against Hollow Face.


A different approach

While most directors would go for the easy scares, fast paced thrills and chills Fresnadillo approaches the story from a more psychological and personal point of view. The story is told in such a way this could easily be more of a supernatural thriller than your average horror film. He is more interested in exploring how to deal with fears and what affect they have on the that you hold close. Hollow Face is more of a catalyst that makes Fresnadillo explore fear and the shockwaves it sets in motion.

Some parts of the film tend to be a bit slow and off balance switching between the different stories. Also the connection between the Spanish and English story feels a bit simple and doesn’t fully satisfy. Fans of "28 Weeks Later" will see a total different and more observing approach towards directing. Although not flawless, the film is cleverly disguised as an horror film but if you look through this veil of fantasy you’ll see a film that deals a bit more on an emotional and psychological level.

Official site: Intruders



Image quality

The film itself has lots of shots in dark areas but contrast and colors good on the dvd.


Unfortunately the dvd has one audio track in English and French dubbed audio of the film. I think the audio track could be better and mixed more clearly, giving the more suspenseful scenes something extra.


The dvd features about 10 minutes of deletes scenes, some showing a part of the storyline that was abandoned in the actual film. There are 3 featurettes of a couple of minutes each that don’t give that much insight in the themes they address. More interesting is the 20 minute making of with interviews of a wide range of people involved in the film. This extra gives more information about how the film started out and what they wanted to achieve with "Intruders".


The film touches upon interesting themes concerning fear and how we pass these over. They could make some great extra’s on the disc. The featurettes don’t add much but the making of is nice but average. Overall this is a decent dvd release of quite an entertaining film.







Juan Carlos Fresnadillo






Clive Owen, Carice van Houten, Ella Purnell, Pilar López de Ayala and Izán Corchero