Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Intruders, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s follow-up to 28 Weeks Later, explores the power of a child’s imagination and touches upon the deep bond that can develop between mother and son and father and daughter. The story interweaves two separate families terrorized by a mysterious entity called “Hollow Man” – a cloaked figure who floats into the bedrooms of two kids who have accidentally summoned him. Although there are some interesting ideas and well-executed sequences in Intruders, the busy plot never fully comes together when the reveal is unveiled.
In Spain, a small boy named Juan is visited by “Hollow Man” but he and his mother are the only people who actually witness the mysterious figure. They try desperately to rid their family of this waking nightmare by turning to religion. Juan obsessively writes stories about “Hollow Man” and everything he commits to paper seems to come true, mysteriously. In desperation, Juan takes the pages of his story and drops it into a hollow tree trunk in an attempt to vanquish the ghostly foe.
When we flash forward, John (Clive Owen), along with his wife (Carice van Houten) and daughter(Ella Purnell), have settled onto the same property housing that same tree. Mia, John’s daughter, finds Juan’s story and decides to read it in class. When the teacher asks her to finish it, she does that, thus resurrecting “Hollow Man” once again.
Mirroring the earlier bond between Juan and his mother, John and his daughter ban together to fight off the frequent attacks by “Hollow Man” before he steals the child’s face for his own. Instead of relying on religion, the family turns to mental health and therapy after Mia is suddenly unable to speak after an encounter with the mysterious masked intruder that continues to haunt them.
Believed to be suffering from sort of delusion, John and Mia must face their predicament alone in hopes of returning to a sense of normalcy. This is the point where Intruders starts to go off the rails, unfortunately.
The puzzle pieces never quite come together once the twist comes – a development that is somewhat obvious but never fully explained – leading to a finish that will probably leave you scratching your head. Once all the cards are on the table, the sub-plots and ideas of shared hallucination just don’t come together in a fulfilling way, leaving character motivations in mirky waters.
Were the kids creating “Hollow Man” and channeling him through their imagination, or is this entity simply a way to deal with past trauma? Intruders has enough going on to fill two movies, making the ending seem unfocused and weighed down in exposition. Watching Clive Owen speak marble-mouth Spanish doesn’t exactly help matters.
If the script by Nicolas Casariego and Jaime Marques was a little more thought out, Intruders would leave you thinking instead of just leaving you cold.
2 out of 5