Director of the famous 28 Weeks Later (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo), broke his four year directing gap with the recent horror film, Intruders (starring Clive Owen, Kerry Fox from Shallow Grave and Daniel Bruhl from a German film called The Edukators). This movie almost appears to be split in two, with separate stories of ‘Hollow Face’ harassing two different children as they sleep – this construction was quite a clever filmmaking technique, as the viewer is left questioning if there might be any other connection between the dual stories. I’ll leave the answer to that one for the film itself to reveal! At times the split felt a little jarring but you soon get used to the flitting back and forth, and I suppose each story does compliment the other. I personally found that the storyline involving the English girl had more going for it, and gripped me more than the Spanish boy, but having them both definitely helped to add an extra element into a story that would otherwise have been a little on the ‘hollow’ side. (Bad pun, I know, but I do try!)
I thought that the unsettling atmosphere that was used throughout worked very well, despite the fact that there weren’t really many ‘major’ scares. There was a growing sense of desperation and confusion as to whether they were simply going mad or not, and I felt this was done extremely effectively (much to Clive Owen and Ella Purnell’s credit). More emphasis was placed on the drama within the family instead of the ‘horror’ elements which could have been introduced, and for me that was a bit disappointing. But this was indeed a strong film with solid cinematography, although I personally felt that it did not match the standards that Juan Carlos Fresnadillo set himself from 28 Weeks Later – it was still a remarkable effort though!
Despite the title being a plural (Instruder-s), there is in fact just the one ‘ghostly entity’ (for lack of a better word) which terrorises these two children, more precisely, by trying to ‘steal their faces’. Why it happens to be these two specific children and no others is a question which never really gets addressed, but it is not too important a plot point, so it’s better not to dwell on it. Comparisons have been drawn between Intruders and Insidious, which are a tad tenuous in my opinion – being just that there are children involved and an evil ‘spirit’ out to get them. It is also in the fact that both films, whilst regarded as ‘horror’, are much more subtle in their approach, and for that reason could even be described as thrillers instead. As far as quality goes, I would say Insidious does a better job than Intruders (a sentiment which most critics also seem to concur with). Don’t expect anything elaborately deep and moving with this film, because the basic plotline isn’t something that offers itself to stray too far from the good old fashioned horror movie clichés.
All things considered, this film is a decent enough watch and is much more psychological than your average horror film – which is an aspect which appeals to a lot of people. There’s nothing jaw-droppingly fantastic exhibited here, however, it is an absolute masterclass in how to properly create ‘atmosphere’, something which is a priceless tool within any horror movie, psychological or otherwise. So, if you find yourself with a spare couple of hours, then by all means give this one a little look.