Monday, August 20, 2012

Horror Film Review

Intruders (2011):  Boogeyman-in-the-closet flick from the U.K./Spain.  With Clive Owen, no less...albeit horror involving A-list actors does not have an impressive track record (think What Lies Beneath with Harrison Ford, Hide and Seek with Robert De Niro, and The New Daughter with Kevin Costner).  And the movie actually entitled The Boogeyman sucked balls.  So Intruders had much to overcome.  Did it succeed?  Let's just say the track record is consistent.  Be warned, I'm going to spoil the hell out of this movie.

Stay with me, now.  This may be tricky.  We start in Spain with a little boy, Juan (Izan Corchero), and his mom (Pilar Lopez de Ayala).  Juan writes stories about a monster, then starts having nightmares about a man-shaped creature in a tattered black cloak with no face who tries to steal him away.  Next we're in Britain where 12 year-old Mia (Ella Purnell) finds a wooden box in a hollow tree at her grandma's place.  In the box is an old slip of paper that tells of the tale of Hollowface, a man with no face who's been searching the world for the boy who has his he can rip the kid's face off and take it for his own.  Mia, for reasons passing understanding, decides to add to the story, changing the plot so that the monster now goes after a girl.  It's not a galloping shock, then, when Hollowface shows up in her closet looking to rip her face off.  Mia's dad John (Owen) saves her, thinking it's a home invader.  But it keeps coming back, oddly tentative for an evil monster, never able to get the job done.

Juan's mother brings him to a priest, Father Antonio (Daniel Bruhl) and then decides he can't help them and runs away.  Yeah, I don't get it either.  Meanwhile, only John and Mia see Hollowface so everyone thinks they're nuts and decide John should stay away.  This whole tiny subplot is stupid since John comes right back to save Mia again.  When John finds the slip of paper Mia had found in the tree, he hightails it to his mom's place.  I must admit, I really didn't see it coming until the last second.  Yes, John was Juan and he wrote original monster story Mia found then embellished.  Juan created the monster in his mind because in reality, it was his asshole father who had tried to steal him away.  But asshole father died the night he tried take take Juan, so what the hell is Hollowface?  And if it's a product of a boy's imagination, how did it become real and therefore able to now harass Mia?  Beats the crap out of me.


Acting:  All performances are quite good.  de Ayala as Juan's mom steps up to but doesn't cross the line into ham.  Owen's excellent.
Story:  The two credited writers have no horror in their resume that I could find.  It shows.  I'll admit, I was taken in by the twist, yet so many other aspects of the story fail to gel that the jolt really didn't have teeth. 
Direction:  It's the same guy who directed the excellent zombie flick 28 Weeks Later, so why does this film plod along like a doped up camel?  Dunno.  The meshing of the two story lines was handled well enough, though. 
Production Values:  Very slick and polished.  A $13 million budget is by no means meager for this kind of movie. 
Gore/FX:  No blood, no gore.  The Hollowface CGI isn't terrible. 
Scares:  I don't remember any.
Ending:  Well, there's the twist, then it's like they didn't know what to do next.  Pretty lame.
Verdict:  Should you see Intruders?  I just don't see why you'd want to.  As a horror film, it's a misfire, a dud, a snorefest.  As a mystery, it's all right.  I'll leave it up to you.  Of course, I did spoil it, didn't I?

Rating:  3 out of 5

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