Jorge Alvarino
March 30, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT
We gave it a B-

In the effortful psychological thriller Intruders, an apparition of a faceless, hooded man — appropriately named Hollow Face — haunts a boy in Spain and a girl in London. The boy, Juan (Izán Corchero), is protected by his mother (Pilar López de Ayala). The girl, Mia (Ella Purnell), is protected by Clive Owen as her father. (Dad appears to be more maternal than Mom, played by Carice van Houten.) What links the two terrified children turns out, in the way of less-than-inspired thrillers, to be uninteresting. This puts a crimp in Intruders‘ ability to provide a satisfying scare.

The filmmaking, though, is handsome and atmospheric, as Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (who made the cool 28 Weeks Later) plays with classic horror elements of rain, bony monster fingers, vertiginous camera angles, and assorted shout-outs to Pan’s Labyrinth. And Owen devotes himself to the horror-flick role of a father battling his daughter’s monsters with the same trademark efficiency and intensity he brings to every project, whether pulpy like Killer Elite or pure like Shadow Dancer. For no particular Rosemary’s Baby reason, Dad’s full name is John Farrow. So his daughter is Mia Farrow. That’s just kooky, not spooky. B-

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