Review: Intruders – Closet catastrophe

Intruders PosterThe new Spanish/English film Intruders attempts to tap into childhood fears of the dark and involves a bogeyman type monster that lives in the unseen corner of a bedroom closet. This low budget horror flick doesn’t break into any new territory in regards to originality, scares or special effects, but it might disturb your sense of logic.

Clive Owen (Sin City) plays John Farrow, a British construction worker who finds himself caught up in a convoluted plot involving a monster named “Hollow Face” that lives in his daughter Mia’s bedroom, threatening to capture her and take her into the dark recesses of the dimension hidden behind her closet walls. The monster appears around the same time that Mia plagiarizes a handwritten story she finds in the hollow part of a backyard tree.

The old manuscript was placed in the tree by its author, a young Spanish boy from decades earlier who is mysteriously connected to events taking place in the present-day narrative. The movie jumps back & forth between the two stories, with both the boy and the girl being terrorized by the monster, and it is not until the telegraphed twist-ending that it all makes sense, and I’m not certain it does even then.

It isn’t until the movie is over that I realized the Spanish-speaking kid who wrote the original “Hollow Face” story wrote it in English. It’s fine that this child is bilingual, but why is he speaking Spanish and writing in English? It seems like the only purpose for this is to allow for the young English girl to be able to read the document years later – and to force the English audience to read subtitles for half the movie? Maybe I missed something here, or maybe I’m making a monster out of a mouse, but I feel this is a huge film faux pas, as this piece of parchment is the key to the entire plot.

Clive Owen in IntrudersThe acting here is fine given the context and the material they are working with, and especially Ella Purnell as Mia does a very good job making the best of an awkward role. There are a few creepy scenes and a couple of slight scares in this film, but these happen before the monster is ever seen. After “Hollow Face” is revealed any fear quickly turns to laughter and let’s face it, a guy in a hoodie, with or without a face, is not that scary (unless your name is George Zimmerman), and the special effects make him downright laughable.

This film was directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) who is also currently attached to BioShock and the Highlander reboot. For me, that attachment is scarier than his current film as I’m looking forward to both of those upcoming movies and if Intruders is an indication of Mr. Fresnadillo cinematic prowess, then these future films could have many troubles.

I’m guessing most of the budget for this film went into Clive Owen’s pocket (who does a mediocre job at best) as it certainly wasn’t spent on special effects or any type of sensible screenplay storyline. Intruders tries to introduce a new monster to the film world in a thoughtfully classic manner, but they didn’t have the budget or talent to pull it off, and the result is a movie that is both pretentious and preposterous.

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.