‘Intruders’: Butt out

March 30, 2012


The less said about “Intruders,” the better. Despite a cast led by Clive Owen (who seems in serious need of career direction), this is a horror movie without a ghost of a chance – or an authentically scary moment.

Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, “Intruders” operates on two tracks that eventually merge. One involves a little boy in Madrid; the other, a little English girl in London (whose father is played by Owen).

Both of them are plagued by an evil spirit, which the boy calls Hollowface. The girl (who seems to live in a different time period) finds a hand-written story about Hollowface hidden in a tree in her backyard; the story, unfinished, says that Hollowface comes to whoever speaks his name (which she does when she reads the story aloud in school and tries to pass it off as her own).

Suddenly she’s being visited by the spectral, hooded figure, who takes up residence in her closet. Her father is the only one who believes her, but he too seems helpless to fight off this demonic presence.

And … so what? The script by Nicolas Casariego and Jaime Marques never compels the viewer to buy into any of this or to invest emotionally. And the scary stuff is only frighteningly bland. Owen works hard at trying to make us believe but, as good an actor as he is, this is beyond even him.

“Intruders” barely intrudes on the consciousness, even while you’re watching it. Which you are most vigorously advised not to do.

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