Twitter Facebook
  Now Showing Coming Soon All Films


Released 27 January 2012
Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Clive Owen, Carice van Houten, Daniel Brühl, Pilar López de Ayala, Izán Corchero, Kerry Fox, Ella Purnell

Nicolás Casariego, Jaime Marques

Belén Atienza, Mercedes Gamero, Enrique López Lavigne

United States, United Kingdom, Spain
Running Time 100 minutes
Genre Horror, thriller
Rating 15A

Convoluted nonsense.

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is the Spanish director who made the interesting but ultimately frustrating Intacto and the frustratingly awful 28 Weeks Later. He’s back with a film that resembles something of an old-fashioned euro-pudding. Among the cast, there’s England’s Clive Owen, Holland’s Carice van Houten, Germany’s Daniel Brühl, and Spain’s Pilar López de Ayala. These type of ventures have a history of not working though, so can this buck the trend?

The action begins in Spain where a young boy Juan (Izán Corchero) is writing a school essay about monsters before being put to bed by his mother (López de Ayala). His sleep is disturbed later by a faceless monster in a cloak entering their apartment and attacking his mother. This appears to have been a dream though but the boy still feels an evil presence that constantly disturbs his sleep. His mother tries to help him and a local priest (Brühl) attempts to help them but nothing seems to work.

Played alongside this at the same time is a similar story from England. John (Owen) and his wife Susanna (van Houten) lead a comfortable existence in leafy middle-class England. Their daughter Mia (Ella Purnell) is about to have her twelfth birthday but when chasing the family cat up a tree she comes across an old box. She finds some old pages inside which tell the story of a monster called ‘Hollowface’. This monster was born without a face and it targets children to steal their faces. This monster also looks very similar to the monster who attacked Juan and his mother.

Mia takes the story and writes it up for school claiming it as her own. Soon after, Mia starts to feel a disturbing presence in her room and later she’s attacked by ‘Hollowface’ and John intervenes to fight him off. However this doesn’t seem to stop him and John fears that the monster will be back. Mia stops speaking and is brought to a doctor (Kerry Fox). The doctor doesn’t quite believe her story though.

This is an annoying film. It takes a long, long time to build up its premise and while it does this well, you do expect a payoff in the end. When this arrives in the form of a quite ludicrous twist, the main reaction is one of annoyance. It simply doesn’t make a lick of sense and the whole thing pretty much unravels after that.

Clive Owen must be wondering what’s happened to his career if this is the best role he can get these days. The rest of the adult cast go through the motions competently enough, but at least there are good performances from the two child actors Purnell and Corchero. And there’s a brief appearance from Jim Carver from The Bill, which is nice.

Overall though this is just another frustrating film from Fresnadillo that’s best avoided.

- Jim O’Connor