Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here from the still beating heart of SXSW 2012. I just got out of flick that wasn't really on my radar at all: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's INTRUDERS. I dug it. Fair warning, I'm fairly certain I'm in the minority here, but I can't help but like what I like and I certainly liked the flick. I've heard from quite a few online blogger folks that thought it was just terrible, so I guess I'm here with an alternate take on it. Still curious? Read on, my friend. (Though, don't expect a scene by scene summary type shindig - just some thoughts.)
"Though no one can see him, Hollow Face lurks in the corners, desperately desiring love but only knowing how to spread fear and hate. He creeps into the life of John Farrow (Clive Owen) after Farrow’s beloved 13-year-old daughter Mia (Ella Purnell) is assaulted in their home. The line between the real and the imaginary blurs as fissures start to open within the family unit. It seems that no security measure can keep Hollow Face out."
The film stars Clive Owen as a father struggling to protect his daughter from a faceless monster who's deadset on stealing her face. Owen brings a realism to the role that feels authentic and inspired. In a lesser actor's hands, this movie could have easily been a throwaway, as forgettable as any of the American remake J-horror craze from a few years back. But Owen is not the only gem in this bag, his daughter (Ella Purnell) and wife (Carice Van Houten) both give great performances. Carice Van Houten and Ella Purnell completely force you to empathize with both their characters. I felt for all three (just not for the monster, "Hollow Face"). There are some genuinely loving moments in the film between Owen and Purnell that help balance out the distractingly bad CGI that pops up here and there.
Unfortunately the film's story isn't quite up to par with the level of acting it's got. I'm not sure if that makes too much sense, but the film does ask you to suspend your disbelief a bit more than it should and I'm sure that might be a turnoff for some. The film's main plot with Owen and his daughter is paralleled with a young Spanish speaking boy and his mother being terrorized by the same hooded creature, which surely culminates to an "ah ha" moment at the end. [I know, "It kind of better add up to something." It does.] It's chock full of scares based on things we've all seen before, but with a slice of Clive Owen, a special spin that keeps you watching until the bitter end.
The film feels a bit cliche at times and slightly by the books. If you know that going in, you'll have a hell of a good time with the flick. This is absolutely the kind of forgetful fun you'd want to take a date to. My typical rule of thumb with checking out movies, at fests or free screenings here and there is "Would I drop ten bucks to see this?" With INTRUDERS, I absolutely would. It's like eating Ramen Noodles: tastes great, but there's no real nutritional value to it - excellent for the occasional snack.
If you get the chance to check the flick out and are in a popcorn and coke kind of mood - you'll dig it. If you're looking for something with substance, like say THE EXORCIST (I know, that's an extreme) or THE OMEN, yeah... move along.
ALSO: Avoid the trailer, if possible.
- Mike McCutchen
TL;DR: The movie is pretty flawed, but fun and has great performances.