Blu-ray Review: Keep INTRUDERS Out of Your Home

Contributor; Seattle, Washington
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Blu-ray Review: Keep INTRUDERS Out of Your Home
Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's Intruders has perhaps one twist too many. Actually, it has a couple of twists piled on top of one central twist concerning two children in different countries being menaced by what seems to be a supernatural presence. Nicolás Casariego and Jaime Marques' screenplay does something strange by the end: it actually removes the stakes of everything that came before with its trio of revelations that at first test and then demolish any credulity the movie had built up by that point.

I'll try not to spoil Intruders, although it takes a while before Fresnadillo's film takes any kind of shape that's worth describing. We're initially introduced to Juan (Izán Corchero) a young Spanish boy who, on one rainy night, comes under threat in his high-rise apartment home. What is this rain-slicker wearing specter and what does it want with the child? Many miles away in England, young Mia (Ella Purnell), finds a story about a faceless boy which she passes off as her own in school. But soon, the story begins to obsess her and she becomes convinced that its villain, Hollow Face, is stalking her, waiting to steal her face.

Clive Owen plays one of film's most distinguished looking construction workers, John. John is Mia's father, and when someone attacks the girl in her bedroom--seeming to steal her voice--John begins to fear that his family is being attacked by something unnatural.

The two stories circle around one another, linked by the parents' increasing desperation. Juan's mother (Pilar López de Ayala) comes to think it might be a religious matter and begs a priest to exorcise her son, while a therapist begins to home in on some uncomfortable truths about John and Mia's too-close relationship. How they both come together is at first clever and then really dumb, and then, once another twist is piled on top of the whole mess, kind of insulting as the story hops genres and the characters are imperiled by some terribly plastic-looking CG.

Owen is wasted here (seriously, what's happening with his career) as is Carice Van Houten who is given the thankless role of John's wife. Both are asked to play parents frightened for their child, in a way that makes Van Houten's Susanna seem cold early on and John appear to be curiously immature in a way that could endanger his family. Ayala is all wild fervor at about the movie's halfway point, and if her son isn't being stalked by a spirit and is instead simply disturbed, we know where he gets it from.

After the tense and fascinating Intacto, Fresnadillo has made one misguided movie (28 Weeks Later), and now one outright bad one with Intruders. In both, the characters were occasionally required to act in ways that no reasonable person would in order for the plot to progress. Here's hoping that in the future, the director will be able to get back to the strange alchemy (and plausible, human characters in strange circumstances) from his first film for whatever he's working on next.

Special Features

Besides a brief featurette (07:39) which provides a broad over view of Intruders, the disc also includes a lengthier behind the scenes doc (19:49, SD).

Intruders is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD from Millennium Entertainment.

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Tom StoneAugust 15, 2012 4:47 AM

Fantastic headline.