"The experienced and respected actors are outshone by the younger performers of the cast..."

Within the horror/thriller genre, film-makers and writers are often presented with the option of making the antagonist either real human beings or creatures, or the supernatural - such as ghosts and zombies, for example. However, the problem with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's Intruders, is that it's a bit of both, or from a more pessimistic viewpoint: neither.

Telling two separate stories, Intruders begins with the tale of a young boy Juan (Izán Corchero), growing up in Spain, and haunted persistently by a recurring nightmare where he is visited by a face-less man in a black overcoat named Hollow Face, with the intention of stealing the young boy's face to have as his own. Despite Father Antonio's (Daniel Bruhl) best efforts to console the terrified child, Juan's mother (Pilar López de Ayala) is adamant her young boy is witnessing reality and that the continuous intrusion of Hollow Face is authentic. 

The Spanish half of the feature does however intertwine with a contemporary British story of a young girl called Mia (Ella Purnell), also finding herself haunted by Hollow Face, and similarly to Juan's predicament, is supported by her father John (Clive Owen) who is also a witness to the chilling monster’s invasions, yet has the somewhat sceptical wife Susanna (Carice van Houten) and therapist Dr. Rachel (Kerry Fox) to convince.

The dual storyline, however, feels contrived and unnatural - seeming forced upon the film. Fresnadillo evidently wanted to introduce his own Spanish influences, but should have stuck to his guns and made the whole film in Spanish. Certainly bringing Clive Owen on board and allowing for the majority of the film to be spoken in English is an attempt to appeal to a broader audience - yet simply seeks to devalue the film. It just feels like two stories that don't quite match - almost as if the feature is yet to be fully edited, as the interlacing is too untidy.

Often when such a story is lacking, horror films can redeem themselves by simply being scary, with the occasional anxious or jumpy sequence. Intruders, which therefore needs to rely on it's elements of horror, fails to be particularly scary or chilling. The antagonist, Hollow Face is potentially terrifying, but the face-less monster is too human-like, throwing punches in fights, rather than using supernaturalism to overcome enemies. Also, early on in the film Hollow Face is almost defeated by Juan - and presenting such a weakness so early on only cheapens his character as he seems to be too easily conquerable and therefore less threatening.

Clive Owen, however, puts in a steady performance as the protective father, although similarly to Hollow Face, seems too ordinary and vanquishable to pose much of a threat, when in such situations you want to put all of your faith in the leading role, yet he fails to truly encapsulate the role of the natural action hero.

Whilst the performance itself is satisfactory, the experienced and respected actor is outshone by the younger performers of the cast. Both Purnell and Corchero are impressive, portraying genuine fright, although mixing it with the degree of courage that their roles require. Purnell, who also starred in Never Let Me Go, really shows up van Houten, playing her mother. The Dutch actress is disappointing in the role, as it becomes difficult to comprehend whether she is scared and concerned for her daughter, or disorientated with the entire situation, and just annoyed at her over-reactant husband.

The film, relatively short in publicity, hits our screens on January 27 - a day when you have the choice between seeing Liam Neeson taking on wolves in The Grey, or Clive Owen, fighting a man with no face in Intruders. Go for Liam.