SXSW Review: INTRUDERS

Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)

            This horror, thriller which fell into the “Midnighters” category at the SXSW turned out to be a major snooze fest.  I didn’t actually fall asleep while watching it, but after staying up late on a typically busy festival day, I wish I had just gone home to do some snoozing.  This film would be my second “Midnighter” that I saw after my first, MODUS ANOMALI, which I did not really like much.  So, after viewing this one, I began to question whether or not I should even bother staying up for these late night screenings if they failed to deliver the goods.  Thankfully, the next two midnight features restored my enthusiasm for this film category (THE AGGRESSION SCALE, JOHN DIES AT THE END).  I cannot wait for those to get released in theaters.  Until then, INTRUDERS will have a limited opening starting on March 30 and will eventually play in Austin theaters soon. 

            Starring Clive Owen, INTRUDERS follows the lives of two children as they are both haunted by a dark entity, nicknamed “Hollow Face”.  The film begins with Hollow Face tormenting a young Spanish speaking boy (Izan Corchero) and his mother (Pilar Lopez de Ayala).  Apparently this isn’t the only child he stalks.  The Farrow family’s daughter Mia (Ella Purnell) begins to see visions of Hollow Face at night until he reveals himself in her room and attacks her.  Her father John (Owen) and his wife (Carise van Houten) desperately try to make sense of the attacks as they question whether or not Hollow Face is real or imagined.  The boy and his mother at the beginning of the story can definitely shed some light on who this mysterious figure is and what he wants.

             Written by Nicolas Casariego and Jaime Marques, and directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, felt like a typical ghost story with few thrills and surprises.  The filmmakers weakly attempt to make their audience members jump off the edges of their seats, and because these moments came across so lame, I sat bored through most of the film.  The only things that had me somewhat invested were the mystery behind Hollow Face and the how these encounters affected the children and their families.  When the mystery is revealed in the end, I found the whole premise just as lame as the journey there.  I connected with the characters mainly because of the acting by Corchero, Lopez de Ayala, Purnell, van Houten, and Purnell, but the story overall left me flat.

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