Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Legacy of Fear

Rated: R  Terror, horror violence, some sexuality, nudity and language
Release Date: March 30, 2012
Runtime: 1 hr 39 mins

Director:  Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Writers: Nicolás Casariego (screenplay), Jaime Marques (screenplay)
Cast:  Clive Owen, Carice van Houten, Daniel Brühl, Pilar López de Ayala, Ella Purnell

SYNOPSIS: Two young children, one a boy in Spain and one a girl in Britain, are both terrorized by a mysterious bogeyman they have named Hollowface.

REVIEW:  Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, directors of 28 Weeks Later and Intact, brings to the screen a slowly building suspense horror mystery based in part on real demons and secrets in his own childhood. Collaborating with writers Nicolás Casariego (Just Run!) and Jaime Marques (Thieves), Fresnadillo presents a unique vision of a bogeyman with echoes to classic horror suspense films we have seen before - to great effect!

A young boy in Spain, Juan (Izan Corchero), writes scary stories to retell to his mother (Pilar Lopez de Ayala) at bedtime. One night, as the rain pours and the window creaks unlocked, Juan goes out on repair scaffolding outside his window to retrieve the family cat. As he returns, a wispy, dark, shadowy hooded figure slips into his open bedroom window and attacks his mother. Before the bogeyman can finish off his mother or him, it flees. In Britain, a young girl Mia (Ella Purnell) finds a story in a tree on her grandparents property and rewrites it for class. After rewriting it, the same creature, named Hollow Face, starts stalking her in her own bedroom. Neither child is unable to combat or vanquish Hollowface, even with the belief of Juan's mother or Mia's father John (Clive Owen, Killer Elite). Exhausting both religious and scientific methods, both families are forced to face the bogeyman on their own.

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and the writers infer the impedance of both religion and science as the kids and their parents struggle to rid themselves of the menace that is haunting them individually. Both the science of faith the the science of man fail to come to grips with helping Juan or Mia as they try to rid themselves of the specter Hollow Face. The bogeyman of Intruder itself is a modern twist of a horror convention that predates the earliest of film, reaching back to stories that were told around the campfires and handed down through the generations. Part dream, part reality, Hollow Face takes on a depth and dimension that rivals, in my opinion, that of Freddy Kruger and Candyman. Desperate to rip off the face of the child it has chosen to replace it own smooth husk of a head, its horrible acts instill a measure of fear since it is directed at the innocence and vulnerability of children. But Hollow Face takes on new levels of suspense when Clive Owen's John actually sees the ghoul for himself. It is one thing for a child to be rebuffed and soothed by a parent when the child is scared of innocent bumps in the night. It is quite another when the parent comes face to face with the dark evil in the closet as well.

The camera work is near perfect. When Mia walks home from school, the camera peers almost over her shoulder as if someone is going to reach out at her. Use of reflections, mirrors, and astute camera angles add to the drama and story. Where the exteriors were shot in Spain and Britain, the interiors were created on sound stages in order to maximize the ability to get the shots that were required. When the young priest Father Antonio (Daniel Bruhl, Inglourious Basterds) fails to calm down the unlikely claims set forth by Juan's mother and she leads Juan away from the church, the steep camera work from above and behind the hanging cross at the alter makes the priest seem small and insignificant. The use of light and shadows also adds to the dread, aided by the classic and eerie original string score. The simple act of Clive Owen's slow motion approach of the front gate of his suburban townhouse takes on a sinister meaning. Even the sounds of rain metallic and hollow splattering on the scaffolding outside of Juan's window borders on the real and surreal.

Fresnadillo's work on Intruders is more akin to his efforts for Intact than to his zombie sequel 28 Weeks Later, focusing more on fear than on rage and anger. Where 28 Weeks Later is an intense and kinetic zombie fare, Intruders takes a slower psychological approach to the story. Fresnadillo compares the story to how we all approach or process the emotion of fear. In an interview, the director talks about what happens when someone wakes in the middle of the night to the sound of banging in the kitchen. The thoughts that go through one's mind between the timid walk between the bedroom and the kitchen is the root of fear of the unknown. That tone is evident throughout Intruders.

Intruders is fine suspenseful storytelling. You can see glimpses of other fine films elements from the same genre, spun in a fresh and original way. Paying attention to the story at hand in a classic, honest and personal way, Intruders pleases on all fronts. Combining the real and surreal with fine camera work, superb lighting and a tight story, Hollow Face may not become mainstream for American audiences, but will become a must-see for devote fans of the genre.

WORTH: Matinee or DVD

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