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“Intruders” (2011) Review

Intruders cover

I’ve never been a big horror movie fan. It’s not that I don’t like the genre; it’s more so that I have become bored by the clichés of the genre (personally, I loved “28 Days Later” and “Let Me In”, high quality films with interesting stories that stand out among the more bland horror offerings). Reliance upon jump scares, barebones/convoluted/poorly pieced together plots, and excessive gore have all become genre staples, and are all ingredients that don’t appetize me in the least. Being a Clive Owen fan (“Children of Men” is one of my favorite films), I had an interest in “Intruders” which is supposed to be more of a psychological horror film.

The main plot of “Intruders” revolves around a childhood nightmare about a being known as Hollowface. This main premise is spread across two settings/timelines. The story starts off decent enough, and throughout the film remains tense. Yet, I could see the ending coming early in the film. Further, though the ending effectively wraps up both sections of the story, one conclusion is much more satisfying than the other, with the lesser being quite disappointing.

This plot is carried nicely by a brooding atmosphere that relies more on tension and unease than on the typical jump scares. This atmosphere is something that really works for “Intruders”. It’s a shame, then, that this environment is wasted on a mediocre villain. Hollowface effectively represents a classic childhood terror of things that hide in the dark, yet it just doesn’t quite feel as creepy as his back story would have you believe.

On the other hand, the main characters do a nice job of making this psychological terror seem real. Clive Owen is always great, and though this role is a step in a different direction for him, he works nicely as John. The children are decent as well, and the supporting cast are serviceable.

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Clive Owen and Ella Purnell work nicely together as father-daughter pair, John and Mia.

The other pieces that make up “Intruders” (soundtrack, cinematography, etc.) all work in the context of the film, but overall are nothing special. There are some interesting sequences involving Hollowface that are well done, and other scenes that have some nice touches, but there are just as many bland story sequences. As for the soundtrack…. well, I don’t really remember anything of note.

In the end, “Intruders” avoids many horror standards and branches into a cool psychological territory. There is some great potential here, and at points, the film is quite tense. Yet, “Intruders” squanders its potential with some sloppy story execution as the story progresses, and falls into a generally average experience due to the lack of some stronger pieces. Fans of psychological horror will find the film interesting, but not anything outstanding.

Final Score: 5.6/10

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