I decided to record this film from the TV. Clive Owen, Kerry Fox, and an additional great Spanish cast gave me the feeling that it would be worth watching.
And it was.
The film plays out in two countries. Starting in Spain, we see a young boy writing a story about a character he calls ‘Hollow face’. His mother warns him about having nightmares about monsters, but he does anyway. ‘Hollow face’ appears in his bedroom at night, trying to steal the boy away from home, so that he can use the child’s face to interact with the world. In his dreams, young Juan sees his mother desperately trying to save him from the grasp of the monster. When he wakes up terrified, his mother soothes his fears, but we get the feeling that she is worried. She goes as far as to consult the local priest, asking him to rid her child of the night-time demon.
Change the scene to England. A young girl called Mia looks into an old tree, and finds a box containing the story of ‘Hollow face’. She cribs the tale for her school project, and soon becomes immersed in what might have happened. She too begins to have nightmares about the monster being in her room, and turns to her father for consolation and reassurance. He tells her not to worry, but the nightmares continue, and become more and more intense.
Back to Spain again. The boy cannot sleep. He writes about the monster constantly, and gives his mother grave cause for concern. The priest is worried too, and attempts to give the family some solace in religion, to no avail. Night after night, ‘Hollow face’ gets closer to the boy, who has to be constantly rescued by his increasingly concerned mother. The strain begins to tell, and she wonders what to do next.
In England, ‘Hollow face’ eventually gets into Mia’s bedroom, causing her to scream, and alert her father, who fights and struggles with the monster in the room. After this incident, Mia is so traumatised, she can no longer speak, and is referred to a psychiatrist. She decides that Mia must be separated from her father, as his version of events is suspect, and they may be experiencing a joint hallucination.
What follows is a real twist, one that I didn’t get at all for a change. A compelling film with a great cast. Not depending on special effects for the shocks, which are nicely built up during the course of the action. A very good script and plot leave us guessing until close to the end, and every character is completely believable and convincing. Can’t ask for much more than that, in my book. One of the best of the genre that I have seen in a long time.
If you have seen it, let me know what you think. If not, see it.