I have a thing for fairy tales, those simplisitic little stories that offer something different up each time I read them. I also have a thing for horror movies, where things don’t always end up happily ever after.
Few movies can effectively combine both the scare and feel of horror and the simplistic, constantly changing perception of fairy tales, but Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) mangages to blend together those traits in his latest film, Intruders, with the creation of the monster, Hollow Face.
Hollow Face is a creature without a face that roams the streets at night looking for a child’s face to steal so he can be loved– for who could love a beast without a face?
Intruders is the tale of two children who are both stalked by this monster in his attempt to possess a face. We are fist introduced to Hollow Face in a nightmare, when he attacks Juan (Izan Corchero) and his mother (Pilar Lopez de Ayala) in their apartment in Spain. Just when we think things are going to reach a climax, Juan wakes, screaming for his mother.
But Hollow Face isn’t simply consigned to the dream world. Twelve-year-old Mia (Ella Purnel) and her father (Clive Owen) become physically endangered when the pre-teen begins to near-compulsively attempt to write the ending of a scary story she found hidden in the hollow of a tree. By reading this story and then attempting to finish it herself, she wakes Hollow Face and allows him access to her home, where he hides in her closet waiting for the right time to strike.
As she and her father attempt to do battle with the physical threat of Hollow Face, Mia’s mother (Carice van Houten) is skeptical of the danger and forces Mia away from the only person who not only believes her stories of Hollow Face, but will try to protect her from the creature.
While this battle goes on, Juan’s mother attempts to deal with what she seems to think is a possession and, as Juan’s nightmares begin to cross over into the real world, alternatively seeks out religious comfort and shuns it– which does little to address the danger Juan is in.
The story was fascinating, the overlapping tales of the two tormented children and how their respective parents attempted to deal with their offspring’s fears. The use of dark shadows in corners and Mia’s haunted closet triggered childhood memories of huddling under my blankets after reading a particularly scary story, fearfully eyeing my closet.
However, even with the characters in the story that most all of us can identify with– as either terrified children or parents dealing with that horror, and even with the fascinating story, parts of the movie’s internal logic began to fall apart at the end, leaving questions not just unanswered but unable to be answered within the system the movie put forth.
If you are one of those people that leaves theaters and rigorously complains that the movie did not make sense, that factors x, y, and z did not add up on a logical level, and you place the majority of the movie’s value on its logical consistency, this may not be the movie for you.
However, if you are able to suspend disbelief, as we are asked to do so often when dealing with fairy tales and fantasy stories, if you do not need a constant form of logical support to enjoy something as a piece of film, I highly suggest taking the time to go down to your local theater to view the tale of Hollow Face.
To read an interview with director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo on the thoughts behind this film, please click here.
Intruders releases in theaters on March 30th, 2012.