Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo of ‘28 Weeks Later’ fame presents new bilingual thriller ‘Intruders,’ starring Clive Owen
By ANGIE ROMERO
Some people just have the ability to scare the crap out of us. In the grand tradition of Spanish filmmakers, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, 44, is one of them. So it’s no wonder Danny Boyle handpicked him to direct 28 Weeks Later, the 2007 sequel to his highly successful zombie-fest, 28 Days Later.
Fresnadillo’s latest pic, Intruders (out today) centers on a Creepy McCreeperson named Hollowface who haunts two separate families in the U.K. and Spain. Though no one can see him, Hollowface lurks in the corners, desperately desiring love but only knowing how to spread fear and hate. And it’s no wonder: dude has no face! He creeps into the life of John Farrow (Clive Owen) after his teen daughter (Ella Purnell) is assaulted in their home. The line between the real and the imaginary blurs as fissures start to open within the family unit.
Bottom line: no one is safe from Hollowface!
The fact that Intruders is set in two countries was important, Fresnadillo says, to establish this idea that “fear has no boundaries.” “I wanted to see how two families from two places as culturally different as Spain and England dealt with the same issue. It doesn’t matter how far you go, those ghosts that are with you will always be with you.”
The whole concept of the movie is born out of Fresnadillo’s own experiences growing up. “When I lived in my house [in the Canary Islands] with my parents, I always felt there was something strange, something hidden that was affecting us, but my parents never spoke to me about it,” the director confesses. “They never shared some family secrets that may have served as clues. That’s dangerous because as kids our imagination can run wild and create something infinitely scarier than the actual reality. So this movie explores some of those fears we have since we were young that have to do with our family secrets. This monster without a face represents those mysteries, that which is unknown. So I felt the best way to represent that was to create a guy without a face, who on top of that is looking for a face.
“In one way or another, secrets always have this desire to be uncovered, to come to light,” he adds.
So is he still scared of the same things he was when he was a child? “I think I made this movie as a form of therapy,” he says, “to liberate myself of some of those nightmares I had when I was younger. Those fears can reappear as an adult, especially when you’re feeling vulnerable. I think in that sense the movie has helped me confront those fears.”
And just in case you thought they were the same thing, Fresnadillo broke down the difference between fear and terror. “Fear is that sensation you get when you don’t know what you’re facing or you don’t understand it, and you feel a sense of anxiety. Terror is when it actually happens, and you’re faced with the monster or the zombie. 28 Weeks Later explored that terror, so I wanted to tackle fear with this one. It’s two different aspects but I’m interested in both.”
Our advice: Make sure you bring someone whose arm you can squeeze!