Friday, April 6, 2012

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo: Intruders

Clive Owen, Intruders, Millenium Entertainment, 2012.

Our collective fears of the dark as children, and the subconscious fear of the original boogeyman, have inspired ghost stories and horror tales for eons. When great directors such as John Carpenter (Halloween, The Fog), Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Guillermo del Toro (The Devil's Backbone) do it, its never done better.

Spanish filmmaker Juan Carlos Fresnadillo mines these rich dark fields in his unbalanced yet unequivocally fascinating new psychological horror-thriller Intruders. A Spanish-British co-production, it feels fresh and semi-inventive as it careens before your very eyes. For this is not your average, every other week faux docu-horror tripe but an exquisitely stylized boogeyman film with a twist. Its structure and nuance are breathtaking at times. The main problem is a script which could have used another rewrite or two. Nicolas Casariego and Jaime Marques' script pays homage/recycles so many tropes of horror cinema, from Nosferatu to The Blair Witch Project. A lot of loose ends and holes in logic, which are delicious/enfuriating to contemplate.

Clive Owen headlines the international cast that includes Carice Van Houten and Kerry Fox. His performance is strong and reliable, as usual, as John Farrow(!),the father whose young daughter is stalked by Hollow Face, a terrifying enigma that comes after children. Intercutting the stories of Mia Farrow (!) (an impressive Ella Purnell) and Juan(Izan Corchero), a young boy in Spain also stalked in the night by Hollow Face. Fresnadillo has a ball spinning this web, capturing many stunning images with his dp Enrique Chediak. Roque Banos' score is luminous, recalling Zimmer's iconic Inception theme.

Fresnadillo wowed our senses with his dystopian debut, Intacto (2001), then crafted a sequel almost as great as the first with 28 Weeks Later (2006). He is a visionary genre director who creates then destroys hermetically horrifying worlds.

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