The scariest horror movie is the one that stars A-list talent. It is almost guaranteed that it will be self deluded into thinking it's a horror movie worth seeing, and there's nothing more frightening than a horror movie in denial.
I have a theory, and this theory contains spoiler alerts for Intruders, the movie at the center of this wonderful review. A-list talent isn't naturally attracted to horror movies - or at least the horror movies people like to watch. Instead, they're willing to do psychological thrillers that pose as horror films, because, according to them, films about damaged protagonists - usually those whose demons are all in their head - are always better than horror movies that actually try to scare and please audiences.
It's an argument to say that Clive Owen is an A-list star, but he is a recognizable face that headlines many movies. In Intruders, he stars as the father of a 13-year old girl who has fallen into the sights of a faceless, hooded threat. Meanwhile, a young Spanish boy is haunted by the same figure who appears to emerge from the nightly shadows.
Intruders starts well, with a spooky introduction and an intriguing premise. Under the directorial guidance of Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later), the movie looks great, especially when he pulls back from the action and offers a bird's eye view. And though Clive Owen's movies are sometimes spotty, he always serves as a consistently likable protagonist.
Unfortunately, the shine wears off after half an hour, leaving two acts for things to fall apart at the seams.
That damn theory kicks into gear. Just when you begin to believe that Fresnadillo has something going, it's revealed that (SPOILER) whatever is happening is happening inside Clive Owen's head. Why oh why are celebrities obsessed with horror movies that devolve into lame psychological thrillers? When something exists inside the protagonist's head, it stops being scary because the threat isn't real. Such a twist rarely works, and it doesn't work with Intruders.
Intruders begins strong but quickly descends into typical horror fare, exaggerated by a silly, predictable twist that doesn't work. The theory holds true.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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