Combustible Celluloid
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With: Clive Owen, Carice van Houten, Pilar López de Ayala, Ella Purnell, Daniel Brühl, Izán Corchero, Kerry Fox, Lolita Chakrabarti, Mark Wingett, Imogen Gray, Ella Hunt
Written by: Nicolás Casariego, Jaime Marques
Directed by: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
MPAA Rating: R for terror, horror violence, some sexuality/nudity and language
Language: English, Spanish, with English subtitles
Running Time: 100
Date: 09/12/2011

Intruders (2012)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Ghostface Killer?

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Appearing at various film festivals, Intruders has already been received with disappointment from horror fans who demand that supernatural horror (ghosts and monsters) and realistic horror (like The Silence of the Lambs) remain separate. But by combining the two types, the celebrated Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (Intacto, 28 Weeks Later) has created a fascinating hybrid, and a moody, spooky movie besides.

In Spain, a boy (Izan Corchero) who loves monster stories experiences an attack by a real-life monster; a faceless intruder tries to take him away and choke his mom. In England, a girl (Ella Purnell) finds a story about the intruder, called "Hollow Face," in a hollow tree. She, too, receives a visit from the faceless creature, who is apparently trying to steal children's faces to complete its own. The Spanish mother (Pilar Lopez de Ayala) and English father (Clive Owen) do everything in their power to stop the intruder. The mother asks for help from the church, and the father installs a security system. Ultimately, though, it's a problem that can only be solved by all the characters searching within themselves.

Intruers raises issues of identity, family, and the concept of fear itself. (Where does scary stuff come from?) A "twist" ending generally seems to disappoint horror fans, but it makes sense and is perfectly acceptable. Fresnadillo perhaps keeps the movie a bit too dark (doesn't anyone ever turn on the lights?) and some supporting characters don't have much weight, but overall, this is an effective, unique movie.

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