Directed By: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Runtime: 100 minutes
One of our scary movie night picks, "Intruders" is an interesting tale of a nightmare that is stretched beyond the scope of what we know the word to mean. So, what do we find when we look it up in the dictionary? There are several meanings:
1. a terrifying dream in which the dreamer experiences feelings of helplessness, extreme anxiety, sorrow, etc.
2. a condition, thought, or experience suggestive of a nightmare.
3. (formerly) a monster or evil spirit believed to oppress persons during sleep.
"Intruders" relies on both the past and the present, where we witness a vile monster, known as Hollowface, that stalks children in pursuit of stealing their faces. There are two children who are haunted by Hollowface - a young boy named Juan who lives in Madrid and a girl named Mia who lives in London. Through a series of events and relatively obvious time change sequences, we gather enough to indicate that the story of the young boy took place some time ago, while the girl's story is in the present.
So how exactly did this Hollowface monster, who happens to have no eyes or a mouth, come to prey upon these innocent children? In Mia's case, she stumbles upon a small piece of notepaper hidden within the hollow of an old tree. Written on the paper is the story of a man, the story of Hollowface. As she begins to read the story, the once-dormant Hollowface is now released to wreak havoc once again. And this time, he's after Mia's face.
One night, while in her bedroom, Mia tells her father, John Farrow (Clive Owen) that she's scared of the man living in her closet. In a scene I admit that I wasn't prepared for, as John walks toward the closet we see Hollowface emerge in his dark hooded jacket. Just when you thought nightmares couldn't be real, this one was real and good old dad wasn't going to save the day and kill the monster. Instead, John gets his butt kicked and Hollowface steals his daughter's mouth, leaving her unable to speak another word. Sounds pretty intense huh?
I'm not into spoilers, so I'm going to change gears here. I'm really torn as to whether or not I would recommend this film to others. Clive Owen delivered a good performance as he does with most all the films I've seen him in, so there was no complaint there. And yes, I was hooked into the story of Hollowface, especially when I was unsure whether he was real or imaginary. I enjoy films that have me analyzing every little part, sleuthing my way to figuring out the answer before the big reveal. However, that's not exactly how this film played out. Sure there are thrills and creepy moments, there are points of realization, and there are memories that are reconciled. But in the end, I felt like the story took the easy way out, relying on information we were never even partially exposed to (except for the mumblings of an old priest) that resulted in the culmination of how these nightmares came to exist in the first place. In certain ways "Intruders" was predictable, while in other ways it had me scratching my head wondering how such story elements could come together to form a coherent plot.
The psychology behind suppressed memories is a subject I know little of, but I guess anything's possible when you put your mind to it.