on April 29, 2012
I haven't gotten the chills watching a scary movie since I was a kid, and that darned clown from Poltergeist scared the jeebers out of me. The movie did a fine job of scaring, with no blood, faces jumping at the camera, which seems to be the only way Hollywood can think to scare anyone anymore. The tone and pace were perfect, and the girl playing Mia was just brilliant. Clive Owen, as always, was absolutely great and you could see real terror and belief in their faces. Best scary movie Ive seen in quite some time.
It doesn't take very much for this one to send chills up your spine. All horror lovers will enjoy the thrill ride as faces are jumping about, the hot water Mia gets herself into, not knowing if there's any turning back allowed. The acting performance of Clive Owen is impressive. Be careful and look all around, the air is filled with fear and terror. Scary and Haunting!
on July 23, 2012
Two children in two different countries with one thing in common, every night a weird being with no face comes to take possession of them. Despite this no one can appear to see this being named Hollow Face who does want to be loved but only can cause pain and many other harmful emotions. Hollow Face makes his way to the U.S. where a father named John Farrow (Clive Owen, "Children of Men") must turn back this being when it targets his daughter Mia.
Despite attempts to keep his family and home safe, Hollow Face's continued pursuit forces Farrow to get more desperate to solve the mystery and save his family. Its not a horrid film as far as one that deals with spirits though Mia writing Hollow Face's story and her narration at times early on in the movie is a nice touch.
It does have some creepy elements to it thanks in part to director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) who directs the U.S. and especially the Spanish speaking parts quite well. Its not really a perfect movie by any means but Owen is especially good as the father and the rest of the cast is at least acceptable. **1/2 out of 4 stars.
on August 24, 2012
I was surprised i'd never heard of this film, as I do like Clive Owen a great deal. So many "scary" movies these days just aren't, and their idea of horror is usually gore. I imagine the thought process of most horror filmmakers go something like this:
"There's this crazy person killing people. Maybe it's because of some wrong done to crazy person in the past, or maybe he's just crazy. We don't really know and we don't think the audience has enough brains to care. All we wanna do is show him killing a lot of people in some bizarre and gruesome way. So that you can tell our killer from all the other psycho killers, we'll have some hook, like he rips out their spines or sews their lips together or eats their eyeballs. Grossing out the audience will distract them from the fact that our movie really has no plot at all. If we give you a reason or make some attempt to tie it all together in the end, it will be really lame or we'll throw in some "twist" because we all want to make the next "Sixth Sense." But either you'll see our twist will coming within the first fifteen minutes, or it will make absolutely no rational sense to anybody who's actually been paying attention. But we don't really care, because we have nothing original to say and we know it."
But "Intruders" is a cut above that formula. It's a restrained and genuinely creepy film.
It follows two families being terrorized by a faceless intruder. The children involved seem to be reading a story about the intruder -- or are they creating it? -- that reads like just another urban legends kids tell each other at sleepovers. But soon the parents are drawn into the terror.
At first, we are not sure where the two stories intersect, but because the characters have substance and you believe in their relationships, you have no difficulty just letting it flow until the connection is revealed.
I don't want to give too much away. There is no big twist, just some really interesting storytelling. I highly recommend this film.
on August 18, 2012
It took me a long time to deduce the point of this movie. Once I did, there was no satisfaction as there should have been. It's not that anything was presented poorly, per se. I think it's that they failed to present what they needed to in order to sell me on this story.
The opening scene of this movie casts a less serious mood than one would expect from an R-rated horror. Two children (one 12, one 8) living in different countries (England and Spain) are visited nightly by a faceless being who wants to take possession of them. Each child has found a convincingly similar story about the faceless fiend. Quickly quelling this immature storytelling notion is the disturbing faceless imagery of "Hollowface," our spectral intruder.
The parents of each child have their own passed-down methods of alleviating their children's fears: nostalgic children's books, burning an effigy (a bit extreme if you ask me), closing your eyes and counting to five--none of them seem to work. Then some strange things start happening with the parents, too: a near death experience for Clive Owen's work buddy and Juan's mom has some issues finding credibility claiming demonic possession.
The children's childish(?) fears worsen toward mania and the parents have difficulty handling their terror. But what happens when the parents start seeing the same thing? Both children's parents adopt increasingly paranoid, but protective, behavior. The British family turns to the police, the Spanish family to the church; both fail to find credibility in the parents' story which, in their mind, is a case of the children's story "infecting" the parents. When efforts to help these families inexplicably fail, they are considered crazy and/or psychological explanations are forced upon them.
Throughout the process the audience questions the notion of "Hollowface." Is it just a common term (i.e., a title like the boogeyman) used by some analyst through whose eyes we perceive this story (i.e., this movie's perspective). Or is the story told through the eyes of the children and parents? Or just the children? Or just the parents? Is the common element between both families--this specific, named villain with an unmistakable appearance--the clue that tells us that this is really happening to these people? Or is it just a device, a paralleling machination dreamt up by a screenplay writer or director to lead us into one sense of awareness and comfortable conclusion before pulling the rug out from under our feet?
The mystery is revealed to us, and gracefully so. However, I can't help but to disagree with the direction they chose thereafter.
All in all, a nice idea delivered too off-target to receive a serious endorsement from me.
A lame story with slow, plodding directing. Even Clive Owen could not save this sad attempt at a scary story. John Farrow's (played by Owen) young daughter, Mia, begins writing a scary story for school. At night she is being visited by a presence without a face who is trying to capture her to steal hers. There is a twist that you don't see coming, which is always fun, but in this case, it was too little too late. Just a big disappointment.
Intruders (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, 2011)
Fresnadillo, whose 2001 thriller Intacto kicked off five years of fantastic Eurocrime thrillers, and followed that up by being just as good at shooting the 28 Days... franchise as Danny Boyle was, turns in his latest offering with Intruders, a ghost story that is unfortunately not as good as either of his first two features, but isn't quite as bad as you may have heard. Spain has quietly been putting together a solid horror environment over the past decade or so (as long as you ignore Jaume Balaguero's attempts at direction that do not involve Paco Plaza); Fresnadillo tapped into that same well, and ended up with the same strengths (fantastic atmosphere--Spanish horror directors, in the main, have learned very well from the Southeast Asian horror contingent) and weaknesses (unfortunately, he forgot to include a plot) that mark such overlooked Spanish horror flicks as Eskalofrio and Hierro.
Our parallel plot introduces two families--one Spanish, one British--who seem to be haunted by the same hooded, faceless apparition who looks a whole lot like classic depictions of Death (without the scythe). In Spain, mom Luisa (Alatriste's Pilar López de Ayala) keeps telling her son Juan (Audacia's Izán Corchero) that the apparition, who Juan calls Hollowface, doesn't exist, but her mannerisms belie her words more often than not. In England, a second storyline follows John Farrow (Croupier's Clive Owen) and his wife Susanna (Black Death's Carice van Houten), whose twelve-year-old daughter, Mia (Never Let Me Go's Ella Purnell), is haunted by a ghost she calls Hollowman. While Susanna does not believe, John does, and much of this part of the movie focuses less on the hauntings than on John's attempts to convince Susanna and Mia's doctor (An Angel at My Table's Kerry Fox) that she's not hallucinating. (One of the best things about Casariego and Marques' script is a parallel between Farrow trying to convince people Hollowface DOES exist and Luisa attempting to convince the family priest, played by White Smoke's Héctor Alterio, that Hollowface doesn't exist. Which, of course, she doesn't believe...)
The main problem with Intruders is a very simple one: the one-two punch of plot twists at the end of the film (and they come in quick succession) just isn't punchy enough to hold up the entire movie, even if you never saw 'em coming. While Owen and van Houten are exemplary at combining eye candy with acting chops, the movie's not worth it for an hour and a half of Owen trying to punch ghosts, even if he does look very good doing it. Well-acted, well-shot, and chock full of atmosphere, but ultimately trite. ** ½
More than any other genre, horror stories really are best as short stories. Over the decades, there have been horror story anthologies and horror short story magazines. I know there are plenty of horror novels as well, but really, in the grand scheme, a great, well-told and to-the-point horror story just doesn't take very long to articulate effectively.
It's much the same with horror movies. While over the history of cinema, there have been plenty of good full-length horror movies...the stinkers far outweigh the classics. (Please note, I'm not even thinking of slasher movies in all this. Different genre, IMO.) A very recent example is THE WOMAN IN BLACK (with Daniel Radcliffe). It very effectively built an atmosphere. It established a good setting and backstory. It introduced a likeable character. And then it dragged on and on...with the same basic scares over and over. What started out so well was finally over-stuffed needlessly in order to get it to be "full length." THE OTHERS (with Nicole Kidman) could have been half the length and twice as effective.
And the same is true with INTRUDERS. There is much to admire here. An excellent, effectively creepy beginning. Some fine atmospherics. Acceptable performances (although I would not cast Carice Van Houten in anything where she speaks in English). The movie simply takes to long so that when the climax and revelations come at the end...we've nearly stopped caring and the "twist" ending isn't strong enough to support a 90 minute build-up.
So often with horror movies, the ending feels lame because we've invested so much time in getting there. Imagine if the film were only 45 minutes instead of 90. You'd be more tolerant. I know this sounds shallow, but I believe it is true. Having watched plenty of half-hearted episodes of MASTERS OF HORROR (coming in just under 1 hour)...I'm much more forgiving of their plot shortcomings than if they had padded by 30 more minutes.
INTRUDERS has an intriguing story and introduces a creepy villian, namely Hollow Face, who seems determined to literally take away the faces (or at least senses) of its young targets. Half the film takes place in Spain, and features a young boy and his mother, as they attempt to use the church to help them fight the horror that the boy alone sees. Half the film is in England, where Clive Owen and his teen daughter both see the frightful creature, and attempt to use science and police work to battle it.
It was all interesting enough, but then merely became repetitive. "He's in my closet!" YIKES!! Next day: "He's in my closet!" HO-HUM. INTRUDERS is simply a ghost story with too thin a plot (and not enough legitimate scares) to really be worth your time. Sometimes, a movie holds promise but fails, yet is worth watching. INTRUDERS is not one of those. It holds promises but is a failure and a bore.
on March 20, 2016
Intriguing movie, but not at the same level as the director's "Intacto" although still worth checking out. There was one big twist which did catch me completely off guard, but I was expecting more I suppose (not twists, just a more engaging story). The scares are also genuinely creepy. I just want to clarify that I bought the digital HD version from Amazon and it was an excellent print as always, no complaints.
on November 28, 2015
Again, like many have stated I've enjoy Clive Owens as an actor, so I sat down on a rainy night and gave this flick a go. I've read many of the reviews, its not easy to satisfy anyone with a movie these days, you have so many types of movie critics, young and old... I like a nice spooky story to unfold, some mystery and sure some chills, some back story, good acting, tension, some imagination. I felt for the most part Intruders was an above average tale with twists and genuine chills, two stories interweaving around an entity called Hollowman who terrorizes two young kids in two different time periods and parent(s) that are left with no answers, trying to understand what's happening to their child, hang in there as the story slowly unfolds to its conclusion. This was far from boring, it had its moments and its surprises. Seeing that it did not have the required amount of bloodshed and killings it lost some of its horror crowd but horror for me is about lighting, sound, pace , tension, twists and a good jolt here and there. Most of us remember being young and having a closet in our bedrooms that our imaginations just sometimes ran away with and it caused me many nights of terror, thanks older brother, this movie brought back some of that, I enjoyed this one..