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Stars: Clive Owen, Carice van Houten, Daniel Bruehl, Pilar Lopez de Ayala, Ella Purnell, Izan Corchero, Kerry Fox, Hector Alterio

Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

“It had no face!” screams a Spanish youngster, neatly summing up the sinister spectre which is pursuing him, intending to rip off his features and use them for itself at the centre of this initially intriguing and atmospheric chiller.

Unfortunately, after black-hooded “Hollowface” (at times regrettably resembling hooded Tom Cruise in the final shot of ‘Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol’) has scared the living daylights out of young Corchero and summoned a priest for help, screenwriters Nico Casariego and Jaime Marques settle for a segue to England Owen’s 12-year-old daughter (Purnell), who discoves a strange note in a hollow tree and is attacked by appalling nightmares in which she, too, is terrorised by ‘Hollowface’ …

So far, so scary.

Unfortunately, having set up the two children as parallel sufferers, Intruders fails to resolve the set-up satisfactory and also fatally fails to establish the differing time zones in which the action is taking place in time to save the show.

While director Fresnadillo (28 Days Later succeeds in creating creepy scenes in the second-best Stephen King tradition at the start, he fails to maintain suspense, leaving the story to run down before coming to s disappointing climax - despite its usually dramatically effective ‘children-in-peril’ premise. And even the subtitled Spanish section isn’t enough to qualify this as an art movie.

Alan Frank

UK/US/Spain 2011. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
99 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 25 Jan 2012