Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
When the news hit that director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (the man responsible for the impressive 28 Weeks Later) was helming a psychological ghost story, this reviewer’s expectations became grand for Fresnadillo has proven in the past that he knows how to bend the rules and break generic conventions seen in most horror films today.
After the film’s striking and disturbing prologue that feels fairly reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners, viewers will be immediately hooked in by the puzzling plot and seemingly supernatural happenings. Unfortunately, by the third act the once captivating build-up will prompt many to give the middle finger to the screen.
The film follows two analogous stories of two children that are being haunted by an ambiguous figure named “Hollow Face.” The first story takes place in the past; a little boy in Spain is terrified when one of his ghost stories he has made up becomes a reality. The second story takes place in modern day England and follows Mia (Ella Purnell), a young girl who finds a hand-written story in a tree and brings it to life after reciting it in class. Both sets of parents think their children need psychological help until one night Mia’s father (Owen) comes face to face with “Hollow Face” himself. Frightening CGI, an awkward post-coital moment and an exasperating denouement ensue.
Intruders has all the ingredients to be a groundbreaking supernatural thriller. Fresnadillo brings a sinister vibe through dark yet well-shot settings and is blessed to have a competent cast that makes the scares believable despite the fact they are fighting a blatantly computer-generated monster. It also deserves to be commended for its ability to break the rules by finally having a parent see the horror his child sees early on into the film.
Alas, the latter half of the film is where the seams unravel. Like Jeepers Creepers and The Village, the film’s final and unanticipated twist ruins the tension and the scares that came before it, making it hard not to penalize Intruders for its staggering shortcomings. Audience members will definitely feel cheated and wonder why two thirds of the film made them think they were watching a genuine supernatural film when really it turns out to be a weak and blasé attempt at a paranormal thriller.
Intruders may be a stylish and well-defined film; however, its finale ruins everything that made the film tolerable in the first place, resulting in a fairly disappointing entry for the Halloween season.
2 1/2 out of 5