Intacto comes to life in particular during the various gambling scenes the first game where Leonardo Sbaraglias hair is coated in molasses, the contestants are blindfolded, the lights turned out and an insect released from its box; which makes you wonder what on Earth is happening; or the scene where Monica Lopez is first introduced to the game and asked to choose people from a line-up and urged to select those closest to dying; and others like the race through the forest and the climactic Russian Roulette game.
Alas, while these scenes work, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo never fully sustains the rest of the story with the darkly suspenseful grip that any good thriller should grab onto its audience with. There is no sense of Leonardo Sbaraglia engaged in an all-important life-or-death struggle to win back his love, for instance. There also seem a good many loose ends and vague explanations. One can buy the basic idea that luck is like a voluble force that various individuals can accumulate but there is no explanation of how and why the underground gambling operation is set up. It is not even made apparent why the police are pursuing Leonardo Sbaraglia. Nor is the significance of the photos made clear and why Sbaraglia gets so upset when he finds his girlfriends photo has been gambled away does it mean that when they lose the people in the photos becomes the inheritors of bad luck, as would seem to be suggested when Leonardo Sbaraglias girlfriend gets accidentally shot and in the reference to choosing the photos of people who are close to dying? Nor is it apparent what is meant when people say the phrase I dont love you anymore, which the film seems to suggest has something to do with luck transference.
In some ways, Intacto resembles M. Night Shyamalans Unbreakable (2000). Both are films about a man who comes to understand the true meaning of his miraculously surviving a disastrous accident. Indeed, while Unbreakable went off to a frankly daft concept about superheroes, Intacto has a much more interesting basic idea. In fact, you suspect that M. Night Shyamalan, with his penchant for conceptually unfolding stories, could have had a field day with the basic idea of Intacto. As it is, Intacto feels like an interesting film that never quite fulfils its potential.
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo next went onto make the excellent end of the world/zombie film 28 Weeks Later (2007). He next went on to make the horror film Intruders (2011) about a childhood boogeyman, as well as produced the cryptic dream tv series Falling Water (2016 ).