Film critic Pauline Kael once famously wrote, “Movies are so rarely great art that if we cannot appreciate great trash we have very little reason to be interested in them.”
A genre-specific update these days might read: Horror films are so seldom watchable that we should appreciate anything that isn’t contemptible torture porn.
INTRUDERS, a modest European thriller from Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later), has a couple of things going for it. First, it has Clive Owen in the lead, which never hurts. And second, it sticks to old-fashioned scary movie tropes, staying well clear of gratuitous gore or ironic hyperviolence played for laughs.
The film tells two stories, actually, separated by time and distance but connected in an eerie fashion. In the first story, a young boy in Spain (Izan Corchero) is menaced by a hooded figure who steals into his room at night. The boy calls the monster Hollow Face, and his mother Luisa (Pilar López de Ayala) seems to know something about the manifestation. But she isn’t talking, and the boy is forced to hide alone under the covers and ignore the blood dripping from the ceiling.
Meanwhile, in London, 13-year-old Mia (Ella Purnell) is being stalked by the same creature, only this time Hollow Face must contend with Mia’s dad (Owen), a construction worker who may have his own connection to the monster.