Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s impressive and anxiety-provoking Intruders (2011) is a deliberately Freudian horror film, a fact that may enthrall some audiences while frustrating others, especially those seeking an entirely “linear” movie-going experience.
Intruders depicts two interconnected tales, though the connecting fiber between the strands isn’t instantly apparent.
Intruders concerns the idea that, as Freud wrote “what we have forgotten is not extinguished,” and that memories – or “derivatives of the unconscious” – are “virtually immortal.”
As we learn late in the film, John is Juan as an adult. And Hollow Face -- the thing that haunts Mia and Juan both -- was once a living individual. He was a man and convict -- Juan’s father -- who wanted desperately to love and be loved, but who sought out that human connection in a way that proved dangerous and terrifying to a child.
Through the countenancing of “make believe” monsters, a child learns how to cope with real life anxieties and fears. That child simultaneously gains experience managing his worries and fears, and develops a history of successfully overcoming them. This is why I will never, ever subscribe to the belief that horror is a bad thing, or somehow dangerous to “impressionable” children. I grew up in a world of King Kong, Big Foot and Dracula. Freddy Krueger, Aliens and Predators are the next generation of movie monsters, but very much the same thing.