“My family had secrets, and my parents didn’t tell me at the time because they thought it was important to protect me from the truth, but years later I realised the importance of how those secrets affected my life,” reveals 28 Weeks Later helmer Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. His latest movie, Intruders, follows two children and their families living in different countries who are both haunted by the same faceless being, aptly dubbed Hollow Face, inspired by Fresnadillo’s private experience. “That secret at that time in my life became some sort of nightmare, and this movie looks at how sometimes parents pass on their own fears to their kids,” he adds. “You could inherit everything from them, including those dark places that no one wants to talk about.”
The thriller straddles two languages, Spanish and English, with Fresnadillo identifying with the young boy, who might not be named Juan by coincidence. “On many levels he was doing something that I did: using fiction and fantasy as a tool to run away from reality, which is very useful sometimes, but you could create monsters that are worse than the reality itself.” In the case of Intruders, the Reaper-like design of the antagonist was part of his masterplan to delve into the audience’s psyche. “In the darkness of his face you project all your fears,” he says, “and on the other hand it’s something you want to see at the end of the movie. You want to know who this monster is, and why he’s coming to these houses and attacking these families.”
In making this personal project, Fresnadillo is hoping that to make people look inward, as well as casting furtive glances into the shadows. “Family is the first place where we are affected by emotion, and that’s why I think it’s important as a family member to cure yourself in order to avoid passing it onto your children. I find that completely unfair as someone who felt that when I was a kid.”
Intruders is out on DVD from Monday.