I’ve been looking forward to Intruders ever since I watched the first trailer. Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) isn’t exactly a visionary director like the film bills him as, but he is good at approaching films with style and consistent moods. 28 Weeks Later was a sequel that actually lived up to the hype of 28 Days Later and yet somehow in his latest horror/thriller Intruders he throws all of that away in exchange for a horror film without scares, originality or a pulse.
There’s a spooky faceless monster that has been haunting the daughter of John Farrow (Clive Owen). He’s tried helping his daughter remedy the situation, but each night she still gets a visit from this unwelcomed friend. Things get even spookier once John sees this faceless creature. He’s not sure if he’s going completely crazy or not, so he installs a top of the line security system to help monitor their home at night.
Meanwhile in another part of the world a young boy is being haunted by this same faceless monster. His mother tries seeking help at the church, but soon realizes that only she and her boy see the creature.
Both families continue to receive visits from this creature nicknamed Hollowface, but they have no idea why.
The real mystery behind Intruders isn’t something the plot brings forth, but more of a problem with the writing. Intruders takes you down a twisty road that promises answers as long as you keep going further and further into the dream, yet when it’s all said and done you’ll find yourself wondering how director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo got away with making such a horrible film. There’s absolutely no real payoff in the film. The ending feels forced in and a result of the filmmaker running out of actual ideas, and not so much as a continuation of the plot.
Clive Owen seems to be the only actor in the film actually trying to give a performance that feels likable, understandable and grounded in the reality of the film. No other characters are given much of anything besides a name, which leaves us following Owen around for half the film and another family for the other. This constant feeling of disconnect makes for a confusing and unfocused story that wraps up on a sour note.
People calling Juan Carlos Fresnadillo a visionary might want to refrain, because nothing about Intruders makes that statement stick. The film is incredibly dark, full of poorly rendered CGI and rarely something worth praising on a visual level. It’s coherently made and not extremely hard to follow, even through the darkness, but that doesn’t make the director a visionary at all. It makes him a director that knows how to point a camera.
Tension doesn’t exist and those looking for scares and thrills will want to look elsewhere, because Intruders just doesn’t cut it.
One thing remarkably good about the package is the film’s 1080p video transfer. The film is darkly lit and yet detail is amazing. Grain isn’t a problem for this razor sharp transfer that enhances the shadows and helps you see through the night a little better. Black levels are rich and deep, which helps the film limb its way to doing at least one thing right.
The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD lossless audio track helps build up the environment by adding music cues in the back channels and keeping dialogue in the front. For a horror film Intruders is skimpy on the scares, but the audio track does make up for it by making the softer scenes that much more exciting.
Here’s a list of bonus content found on the disc:
- Featurette (SD)
- Behind the Scenes (SD)
Intruders is ultimately a massive disappointment. Fans of Juan Carlos Fresnadillo will be letdown by his failure to make something interesting, even on a visual level. Intruders offers no scares, no tension and very little worth watching. The Blu-Ray does a great job adding some life to the darkly lit nighttime scenes (which occupy 85% of the film), but even a spotless video transfer couldn’t save Intruders from becoming a wasted purchase.
The problem with the film lies in the writing and the pointless plot devices that never fit together. Everything feels forced and like last attempt material to try and stitch up lazy ideas and concepts. I wanted to really like Intruders and I tried my best to remain positive during the entire thing, but the way Fresnadillo wraps it up leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. It’s just a bad movie with no redeeming qualities.
Intruders is a complete failure. Clive Owen's performance is off-balance and out of focus, while Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's direction is full of overused horror shots, which elicit not a single scare.