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SAN SEBASTIAN 2011 Opener

Intruders offers pan-European scares

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Intruders offers pan-European scares

The San Sebastian Film Festival officially began on September 16 with the opening film Intruders [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
film profile
]
from director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. The film, about two children (and their parents) who face a creature called Hollowface, was a logical choice for the opening of the first edition under new director José Luis Rebordinos.

Not only does the title reflect Rebordinos’ interest in genre films – his previous job was the head of the San Sebastian Fantasy Horror Film Week – but it is a film that unites recognizable European stars such as Clive Owen and Carice van Houten with top Spanish talent, including Pilar Lopez de Ayala and Daniel Brühl, who’s of mixed Spanish-German heritage.

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The director, who previously made 28 Weeks Later [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
and Intacto, has an international profile, and his latest offering is in a mix of English and Spanish, further underlining the festival’s position at the crossroads between Spanish-language cinema, world cinema and more mainstream fare.

The film tells two parallel stories. In the first, a young Spanish boy (Izán Corchero), whose father has recently abandoned him and his mother (Ayala), is visited at night by a hooded creature. In the second, a girl (Ella Purnell), sees the same creature in her room at night, which starts worrying her parents (Owen, Van Houten) when she insists Hollowface is real.

The screenplay, written by Nicolás Casariego and Jaime Marques, goes back and forth between the stories, which initially seem unconnected. But the strands slowly become intertwined, especially after a psychologist (New Zealand actress Kerry Fox) becomes involved with the British girl.

Fresnadillo, who will next direct the remake of Highlander, handles the material efficiently, though it’s hard to deny that the various elements that make up the story seem inspired by other films (influences include the Harry Potter films, the dark Spanish childhood fairy tale Pan’s Labyrinth and, in the underdeveloped strand involving Brühl’s priest character, The Exorcist.)

The film was produced by Apaches Entertainment and Antena 3, with backing from Canal + and ICAA. Universal Pictures International handles international sales.

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