“Intrusos (en Manasés)” or “God’s Forgotten Town,” is an excruciatingly silly “horror” film from Spain starring the poor woman’s Penelope Cruz, Belén López. Lopez plays a paranormal journalist who takes a team to a ghost town to investigate the disappearance of its residents 60 years ago. It’s a silly, meandering movie with a little pretension thrown in for good measure. To call it a B movie would be an undeserved compliment.
As the film opens, Julia and Roberto, a young couple who also work together in some journalistic capacity, interview a woman who claims to be haunted by ghosts. Her daughter draws crude pictures of herself with the ghosts, so we know this woman is telling the truth. But Julia and Roberto don’t believe her (even though it’s their job to investigate ghost stories?!) and tell her to get physiological help. On their way out, Julia gets a weird feeling and decides to go back just in time to see the lady throw herself and her daughter off the balcony. Julia regrets not believing her and plunges into a deep depression.
Julia lays low for a few weeks and takes baths. (Yes, there are boobs. That may be the film’s only saving grace.) She comes out of hiding to go back to work with Roberto and explore a haunted town called Manases. In 1945, all of the town’s residents disappeared after a Nazi plane crashed there. The Nazis were after the “Scepter of Power,” an object that, like the Holy Grail or Ark of the Covenant, would have helped them win the war. Apparently the Nazis had no real strategy for WWII. They just kept hoping they’d find a magic object. It’s amazing they had any time at all to kill Jews.
Aiding Julia and Roberto on their assignment are Syra, a stoner camerawoman, and Ruben, a super straight-edge grip. Ruben wears a t-shirt with Xs on it and constantly tells Syra not to smoke pot. She rolls her eyes at him and tells him to lighten up. What foils these two are! Can they ever make it work?
Of course, once in Manases, they encounter scary ghost business in the form of, well, everything. In addition to straight-up ghosts, there is also flying pottery, mirrors that smash themselves, ghostly voices, mysterious footprints, ghosts in mirrors, ghosts on video camera night vision, first person ghost-vision and possession. It’s like a ghost story checklist. And it’s all ridiculous.
Eventually, a little ghost girl shows Julia what happened in the town and how to save her and stop the evil ghost Nazi from activating the Scepter of Power. It’s at this point where the whole thing goes from stupid to redonkulous. They also decide to explain everything in nauseating detail. The ghost girl’s flashback goes on forever. Then later, there’s another flashback to explain what happened during the first flashback. And then there’s the ending. I won’t spoil it for you even though you have no business watching this movie. But I will tell you that it’s one of the maiziest (Spanish for corn!) things I have ever seen in a movie pretending to be a horror film.
But, at least there are boobs. Twice!