A good ghost story is hard to come by, but Intruders is making an attempt to add itself into the sub-genre. A cross between a ghost story and a monster under the bed tale, the film starts out strong but starts to unravel in the last third.
Jaun (Izán Corchero) is a small boy living in Madrid, haunted by a creature he calls Hollowface. A being that is stalking the little boy, trying to steal his face. Juan’s mother Luisa (Pilar López de Ayala) turns to the church for help but is brushed aside by an older priest. In London, Mia (Ella Purnell) is also haunted by Hollowface after finding a story about him hidden in a tree on her grandparents property. Her father John (Clive Owen) also sees the creature, but is unable to prove this. Deemed a mental disorder, John and Mia struggle to stop Hollowface, but why is he stalking them and another boy so far away?
It’s a shame that Intruders didn’t end the way it began. The first hour of the film is full of creepy moments and an excellent score that heightens the already almost unbearable tension. Avoiding the cheap jump scares of so many other films, Intruders uses some disturbing imagery and the kind of ‘it’s right behind them but they don’t see it yet’ scares that I enjoy so much. The problem is that the film feels like it’s building to something intense, but never really gets there. Many people will see exactly where this one is going, although I didn’t catch on until the end had almost arrived, and felt a little stupid for not realizing it in the first place. That’s how well the beginning works though! With such great tension, trying to put all the pieces together was the last thing on my mind.
It’s a shame that it falls apart towards the end. The film is incredibly beautiful, and there are some extremely creepy shots. A particular favourite of mine is a scene in a church with Juan and his mother. Surrounded by ominous statues, it’s hard to focus on what they’re doing because you’re spending so much time staring at the creepy visuals in the background. The acting is also impressive. Clive Owen and Ella Purnell are outstanding in their father/daughter roles, bringing a very realistic relationship to the screen. For any fathers out there, it’s easy to relate to Owen as his character frequently uses humour to help his daughter overcome her fears. Equally impressive are young actor Izán Corchero as Juan, and Pilar López de Ayala as his mother Luisa. Izán brings a strength to his character, while still having the fear and vulnerability that a young boy would have in his situation.
With so many things going right, where does it all go wrong? Unfortunately, a story that starts out with so much promise, and insane tension, leads to an ending that lacks any sort of power. It’s surprising, for the most part, and brings all the loose ends together, but it’s completely lacking the powerful emotions that fill the rest of the film. The two different families dealing with Hollowface are so well done, and connect so well. The struggle of John and Luisa to help their children pushes all the right buttons, bringing you right into their world. When the last twist is revealed, it almost seems like there’s no emotion there at all. Intruders isn’t a terrible film at all. It looks and sounds incredible, and the performances are amazing. The effects work well and Hollowface is a truly creepy villain. It’s the story that falters towards the end that brings this one down, but it’s still worth a stormy night viewing.
Under the marquee – Will