‘Intruders’ alert! 

click to enlarge On the set: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, right, with Clive Owen and Ella Purnell. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • On the set: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, right, with Clive Owen and Ella Purnell.

Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, best known for his genre films — the thriller “Intacto” and post-apocalyptic “28 Weeks Later” — believes in a connection between the supernatural and human worlds.

His new movie “Intruders,” opening today, mixes both realms, possibly to the dismay of hard-core horror fans.

“From the very beginning, I thought this was going to be a controversial movie,” Fresnadillo said during a recent phone conversation. “You have to create a hybrid if you want to express many things.”

The filmmaker says he’s not interested in movies with “one simple label.”

“Intruders” intertwines two stories, one about a young boy in Spain who sees a faceless monster entering his home at night. The other is about a girl in England who sees a similar creature in her room. (Clive Owen stars as the girl’s father.) The Spanish family goes to a priest for help; the English family visits a psychologist. Neither offers a real solution.

 Fresnadillo, who calls the problem “very emotional,” deliberately puts his characters — and viewers — in a place where they can’t find relief via traditional methods.

“The movie is about the origin of fear,” Fresnadillo says. “I was exploring the idea of when you wake up in the middle of the night and you hear a noise, what happens to you in that journey, the thoughts you have. Those thoughts define yourself.”

The director — who received an Oscar nomination for his 1996 short film “Linked” — likes horror as a genre because it’s a vehicle for expressing complex and contradictory feelings.

“Reality is full of these things,” he says. “Love and hate are mixed with each other.”

If “Intruders” faces backlash from horror fans, Fresnadillo is ready.

“I have to pay attention to what I need to express and what I’m feeling,” he says. “If I pay attention to the audience, I’m losing myself. It doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about making movies to share with the audience. But sharing doesn’t mean that you have to lose yourself.”



Starring Clive Owen, Carice van Houten, Pilar López de Ayala

Written by Nicolás Casariego, Jaime Marques

Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Rated R

Running time 1 hour 40 minutes

About The Author

Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jeffrey M. Anderson has written about movies for the San Francisco Examiner since 2000, in addition to many other publications and websites. He holds a master's degree in cinema, and has appeared as an expert on film festival panels, television, and radio. He is a founding member of the San Francisco Film Critics... more
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