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Intruders - TV Series Review

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by Jessica Marie Farrugia (subscribe)
Literature student, born and raised in South-East London - compulsive writer, art lover, and self-confessed history geek.
Published November 22nd 2014
Shady cops and creepy children - supernatural TV at its best
As the weather is (finally) getting colder and the evenings are getting darker, it's no wonder that we're increasingly reluctant to leave the house. Admittedly, I love this time of year; I rejoice when the weather forecast predicts rain and I dream of being snowed-in over Christmas. Forget the party season, I'll save my heels for the summer months! For me, winter is the only time of year when it's acceptable to spend all day in sweatpants shamelessly indulging in TV marathons, and in keeping with the gloomy mood outside, I've been hooked on a sinister new series with all usual supernatural perks: suspenseful cinematography, mysterious cults, and of course, creepy children.

First broadcast on BBC 2 at the end of October, no doubt in time for Halloween, Intruders is a paranormal thriller following a secret society in search of immortality. Based on Michael Marshall Smith's novel of the same title, the series is a collaborative production between BBC 2 and BBC America, resulting in a chilling drama with intriguing subtlety.

You shouldn't judge a book by its cover (or so they say), but in my mind it's perfectly acceptable, if not sensible, to judge a series by it's opening credits. Intruders is an example of where this logic works, as the grainy imagery and heavy instrumental soundtrack foreshadow and enhance the eerie atmosphere of each episode.

Opening Credits
Screenshot from Intruders opening credits.

The first episode - 'She Was Provisional' opens in California, 1990, depicting an eerily muted birthday scene, in which a young teenager blows-out the sixteen candles on her decorated cake. In the scenes that follow we soon learn that birthdays are less of a celebration and more of a bad omen in this sinister series, as the girl's first night as a sixteen-year-old proves to be imminently doomed. Woken in the middle of the night by two intruders, the young girl, who we come to know as Donna, finds herself victim of some kind of possession, babbling in a foreign language. Let's just say that things don't get much better for Donna from that point onwards.

Opening Scene
Donna's birthday in the opening scene of Intruders.

From California we skip to Seattle in the present day, where we meet ex-cop Jack Whelan, our protagonist, whose photograph we've already seen in poor Donna's high school yearbook. Played by John Simm, Jack's character is engaging and likeable, despite the fairly predictable nods towards his somewhat shady past. Jack's life is thrown into uncertainty when he notices his wife, Amy, behaving strangely. Not only has Amy been distant and detached, but she also disappears for days and is sighted with an unknown man in a taxicab. As viewers, we can't help being wary of both Amy and Jack, but what's a good thriller without mistrust?

Aside from its vaguely text-book character development, Intruders avoids being too obvious and it's well-paced plot maintains intrigue. What I will say is that you'll have to shelve your sense of realism; otherwise your viewing experience might be marred by a preoccupation with implausibility. And open-mindedness is key to the second strand of the plot, which revolves around a young girl named Madison, who appears, like Donna, to be possessed by some kind of supernatural spirit. As far as paranormal dramas go, creepy children are pretty much guaranteed crowd-pleasers, and Madison is no exception.

Madison and her cat, Loopy.

I'll avoid giving too much away, but I would definitely recommend it if you're looking for something to keep you occupied on drizzly nights! Intruders is available on BBC iPlayer until 29th November, and I'd suggest that you marathon-watch, so as not to forget the smaller details in between episodes.
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