Clive Owen as John Farrow in INTRUDERS, a film directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. Image courtesy of Millennium Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Intruders (2011)

Opened: 03/30/2012 Limited

AMC Empire 2503/30/2012 - 04/12/201214 days
AMC Deer Valley03/30/2012 - 04/05/20127 days
AMC Loews Meth...03/30/2012 - 04/05/20127 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

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Genre: Horror/Thriller

Rated: R for for terror, horror violence, some sexuality/nudity and language.


Though no one can see him, Hollow Face lurks in the corners, desperately desiring love but only knowing how to spread fear and hate. He creeps into the life of John Farrow (Clive Owen) after Farrow's beloved 13-year-old daughter Mia (Ella Purnell) is assaulted in their home. The line between the real and the imaginary blurs as fissures start to open within the family unit. It seems that no security measure can keep Hollow Face out.

From visionary filmmaker JUAN CARLOS FRESNADILLO (28 Weeks Later, the upcoming Highlander reboot), INTRUDERS is the chilling story of two children living in different countries, each visited nightly by a faceless being who wants to take possession of them.

INTRUDERS stars CLIVE OWEN (Children of Men), CARICE VAN HOUTEN (Repo Men), PILAR LOPEZ DE AYALA (Juana la Loca),DANIEL BRUHL (Inglorious Bastards), KERRY FOX (Shallow Grave) and HECTOR ALTERIO (Son of the Bride).

The film's producers are ENRIQUE LOPEZ-LAVIGNE (28 Weeks Later, The Impossible), BELEN ATIENZA (Pan's Labyrinth, The Impossible) and MERCEDES GAMERO (Planet 51, Torrente 4: Lethal Crisis). JESUS DE LA VEGA (Hierro, The 2 Sides of the Bed) and RICARDO G. ARROJO (Planet 51, Julia's Eyes) serve as Executive Producers. The script is by NICO CASARIEGO (Tu que harias por amor?) and JAIME MARQUES (Takers).

Director's Statement

Anguish. A little while ago, I heard one of the best definitions for that oppressive feeling in the chest, the one that barely lets you breathe, from someone I barely knew. "It's the feeling that appears when you're not in control of your life." That wise stranger left me perplexed; not only did I think that the definition fit perfectly with that physical reaction common to the millions who suffer from unease, but I had finally found the premise for the terror that affects the protagonists of the story I was working on, INTRUDERS.

The story takes place in two settings, England and Spain, united by the vibrant thread of a common phenomenon; the protagonists do not feel that they are in control of their lives because something or someone is invading them, their vital space, creating the worst possible threat and possessing what they love most.

In the case of John Farrow, the unwilling hero of this story, the invasion is happening in the space he reveres most - his home, possessing his family, where the one person he loves most, his daughter, is being attacked. A specter from the girl's nightmares is materializing in the house, hounding her and gradually stealing her innocence. In parallel, in a nearby country rooted in dissimilar customs, Luisa Garcia and her son are facing another, cruder invasion; that of someone who is coming back from the dead to invade a body, in this case that of the boy, in order to continue exerting his authority in the darkness without any concessions.

In both cases, the loss of their vital space, of that sacred or untouchable place, for some their family and for others their body, is pushing the characters to stand up to the invaders. They will soon discover that their strength is powerful and intangible and they won't be able to deal with it on their own. Science or religion can be their allies, but that may not be the solution. Given this, our desperate protagonists will be forced to discover the origin of those invaders in order to unmask them and try to destroy the dark force that appears just when their guard is lowered, when they haven't been able to resolve their space and their feelings.

From the onset, when we were working on the first versions of the script, we had one very clear idea - what scares us most is very close to us, more than we believe or can guess and it has been transmitted from generation to generation, like a legacy that becomes bigger, more complex... where the claws of that monster, close and familiar, grip us and fill us with primitive anguish that tastes of defeat; the bitter feeling that at times we are not the owners of our existence or of that of our loved ones.

The Look.

Just like the conversation with the stranger about the concept of anguish which occurred during the writing process, I was fortunate enough to have another "happy accident" that resolved the visual mystery of how to tell the story; an accident in the sense that it was an unexpected event that provided the answer to the unconscious search in which I was immersed. From the moment you start to unfold a story on paper, your mind strives to develop the best possible images for transmitting the spirit of the story. And that search stays latent and strikes you when you see any object or place that apparently is not related, but has a connection with the elements of the story, in their form or content.

The accident that I dare to recount has more to do with the type of lighting I imagined for INTRUDERS or more precisely, how to play with it in order to keep developing elements of the mise-en-scene which served the common cause of this story: creating an emotional effect in the disturbing images.

At night, lit by a floodlight hidden underground, a tree in the garden of a church caught my eye. I stopped in the middle of the street, hypnotized by the shadows that the tree was projecting, uneasy at a discovery that, at the time, took me a while to process. The shadow projected by the tree on the church walls was different from the actual tree. It wasn't overly obvious, and it almost went unnoticed, but it made me strangely uneasy until I realized that the moving shadow was that of another tree which happened to coincide directly with what I believed to be the original model.

I think that the use of a split between the model and its shadow (its movement or shape can be slightly different) is a lighting effect that can specify the rupture suffered by the characters in the story when they are confronted by their own fears in order to tell via the image the invasion and the loss that they are suffering themselves or in their most intimate surroundings. Used in a subtle but constant way, it will create the sensation in the spectator that something beyond reality is occurring within the story and to its protagonists, but without separating from them. The character and his shadow cannot separate even if they are their own entities and it helped to bring about the final revelation in the story, where even the most ancestral terrors, those represented by legends, have their origins in a human being's basic emotions... in the shadow of his feelings. Loss. Pain. Rage.

-- Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Interview with the Director

What drew you to the story?

Fear is inherited. That premise placed me again in one of the emotional settings that interests me most: the family. And in this case, the possibility of exploring the mechanisms that cause certain basic emotions, among them anguish or fear, to be transmitted from one generation to the next almost unconsciously, as part of a genetic machinery that we can't control. Also, I was fascinated by the idea of telling the story within a suspense structure, as if in some way arriving at that genetic conclusion was something we had to face, like an unfathomable mystery that leaves us light-headed; we don't like to feel or think that everything dark that has happened in our family will be transmitted to the next generation, to our children.

What did the work with your regular director of photography bring to the story?

From the beginning, the visualization of the story with Enrique Chediak was based on finding the right lighting for materializing those ancestral fears that grip us when we are still children and how those fears are related to something closer to us - to our parents. We discovered that we had to create an atmosphere of realism, only altered by an unusual color temperature at the moments of maximum tension. That mixture was essential for making the experience of those childhood fears very vivid and for showing how they could be confused with reality, following the maxim that the best way to portray a nightmare is to link it to an everyday, familiar world. Meanwhile, setting the story in two different places, in two aesthetically different cities, led us to look for and generate photography and framing that would create connections from the outset between those two worlds, between two such different cultures.

What were the premises in choosing the actors?

Obviously you always try to find the best possible actors for the story you have on paper; those who can give the best talent possible to the flesh that will fill out the very basic skeleton that appears in a script. In this case, I had to find empathy in each one of them. As it is almost an ensemble story, it was important that each of them could represent different elements or attitudes with which the spectator could easily identify. In the case of Clive it was obvious that his presence as the average man, the everyday hero, helped us center the weight of the story on his shoulders. He was the character to follow and illuminate the other characters in the story and it was credible that on his journey towards the darkness, he would drag us along out of pure interest. With Carice, we looked to develop a family made up of different nationalities as that gave an interesting spectrum with regard to the connection of different personalities peopling Europe. In the end, another recurrent idea in the story appeared with her - the feeling that the mother is an "intruder" in the very close relationship between father and daughter. Pilar's passionate performance helped transmit the overwhelming force a mother can gain when defending her child and that helped to develop the feeling of conviction and drive when she stretched the limits of moral and ethical values. When thinking about Daniel's role, it was essential to find someone who could portray a presence and a performance that would help ease and relax the intensity of the story. As his character was beginning his life as a priest and still seeking the most humane solution, his beliefs were not withstanding. And as for the children, the key was to find in them, apart from their innocence, something in their eyes that would reinforce the connection with the fable; when it came to materializing the family's nightmares it was important that they provide the connection between realism and the magical/obscure world of previous generations.

What was the concept behind the art direction?

The treatment of the places in the two cities where the action takes place has a mystery that I can't reveal as it would ruin the viewing of the film; it's part of the major revelation at the end of the story. Apart from that, the premise was to link the art department with the lighting department in order to obtain the always-difficult balance between reality and the esoteric. The spectral aspect had to unite and meld with the flesh and blood characters in the film. Therefore, the study of each one of the details in the mise-en-scene was difficult. We had to get a simple image of the spaces that would communicate everything possible about the characters that lived in them. There wasn't much time for character development, so the art direction was an essential ally in creating a greater richness in the story's protagonists.

What were the challenges to overcome during the production process?

Undoubtedly the greatest challenge with this film was the editing. It was a long, complex process because of the story's dual structure: two families, two cities and two threats. We had to go through an infinite number of versions to arrive at the only possible solution: an alternating montage that doesn't seem like such, that was full of resonances between the two worlds and the two families. For that, we even had to alter the structure of the script and the shooting. It was strange to see how, when one piece didn't fit into that mirror game, the film lost momentum or interest. It was like a puzzle where the pieces had to fit by themselves, as all the theoretical considerations we had made didn't really work. We had to strip down to the true nature of each sequence so that finally, everything found its place and a seamless piece of work was created.