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Intruders DVD Review

Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Cast: Clive Owen, Kerry Fox, Daniel Bruhl, Ella Purnell, Carice Van Houten

Running time: 100 minutes

Certificate: 15

Extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes

Many horror fans may be approaching INTRUDERS with stereotypical expectations in mind – young children tormented by nightmares that come to life. Well, those fans would be correct; except for the fact that the film lacks something at its core – an actual scary threat.

Clive Owen (CLOSER) plays John Farrow, a devoted father to Mia (Ella Purnell – NEVER LET ME GO) and husband to Susanna (Carice Van Houten – GAME OF THRONES). However, things turn sour when Mia begins seeing the elusive Hollowface, a nightmarish vision who lives in her wardrobe. After installing security software in her room and then getting psychological help for Mia, John finds out that Hollowface may be there to see him instead. As the story unfolds, we find that John has a past with the mysterious figure, and that his daughter may be suffering because of him.

Simultaneously, we are shown subtitled footage of Juan, a small boy living in Spain, who is also being haunted by Hollowface. Juan is taken to see a priest to rid him of his ‘sins’ and to try and exorcise the demon. However, as both plot lines tie together, we understand Juan’s nightmare and why Mia is involved.

Fresnadillo has taken the generic story of nightmares coming to life and tried hard to mix things up. However, the ending is a little lacklustre and the scary… just isn’t scary. Owen is believable as the dedicated dad but Purnell as Mia just doesn’t suit. I didn’t feel scared because she didn’t look scared – and if you’re faced with a giant hooded man in your bedroom, you’d be wetting yourself! Her acting chops can’t pull off the required emotion and takes away any sense of terror. We are constantly threatened with seeing his face (which apparently lacks any features) from Mia’s point of view – but that threat never materializes, and therefore fails to achieve the desired effect. There’s also a problem with the lighting and cinematography. It is hard at times to see the character as his costume, paired with the ‘eerie’ lighting, makes him hard to see.

But what the film lacks the most is common sense. At one point, John encourages Mia to douse a ‘scarecrow’ in petrol and set it alight – great parenting, John! After John is kicked out of the house (for apparently encouraging Hollowface) the film just rushes to the end, almost to bring the melancholy family back together. All in all, what seems to be a smart psychological thriller just falls flat.

INTRUDERS is available on DVD now

Considering Jazmine grew up watching CARRY ON SCREAMING, THE LION KING and JURASSIC PARK on repeat for weeks on end, it made sense for her to study film at London South Bank University. It’s also a good thing that her course requires a lot of sitting down because she’s very accident-prone. When she’s not examining her bruises, she likes pretending that she doesn’t live in Southend-On-Sea and spends hours mindlessly blogging. Favourite films include BLUE VALENTINE, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND and TOY STORY 2.

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