DIRECTOR: Adam Schindler
Timothy T. McKinney
Anna is a young woman who is taking care of her sick brother Conrad. When Conrad passes away, it's now left in the hands of Anna to get his affairs in order and sort out their childhood home. When four intruders break into her brother's home looking for money. Anna who suffers from a severe case of agoraphobia is unable to escape as she is afraid of being outside. Trapped with four men who plan on robbing her, they soon learn that they may have just broken into the wrong house.
The home invasion sub-genre has become all the rage in recent years. We've seen the sub-genre deliver varying degrees of success with great films like Funny Games, Panic Room, You're Next, The Strangers, High Tension, Inside, and Hush. We've also seen it give us a few less than stellar movies in Ratter, Straw Dogs (2011), In Their Skin and now, unfortunately, Intruders can be added to that list. The film isn't a complete mess but what they try to pass off as an original idea comes off second best to movies like You're Next.
A big issue that just happens to befall Intruders is the promotional campaign for the movie. What could have been hidden from audiences as a sneaky and shocking plot twist which takes place about thirty minutes into the film is given away in the trailer. So straight off of the starting block, we are aware that our helpless victim is, in fact, living in a house that just so happens to be one large booby trap with lots of secrets hidden within its walls. The cowering protagonist is also revealed to be no shrinking violet. So both big moments early on are spoiled for us.
Intruders tries to slip in a disturbing twist in the third act that is supposed to show us what the house is built for and why the brother and sister have taken over from their father. With this reveal, we learn some pretty horrible home truths about this family. The reveal itself doesn't feel shocking when it happens but feels more like an attempt at trying to give the film one last gut-punch that just comes across in bad taste. The twist for me wasn't pleasant. I'm all for dark and bleak endings but this wasn't one that I particularly enjoyed.
The movie has a few things going for it. I think the pacing of the film is solid. The film only takes about fifteen minutes to get into the home invasion aspect of the film. It's from that moment on, that the movie doesn't really stop moving until the twist in the third act. This is when things slow down a bit to dish out the information. For a vast majority of this film, the protagonist is either on the move, fighting back and dishing out violence toward her four male captors. This earns the film a few points.
In terms of suspense and tension. Intruders has a couple of moments where I wanted to see our female protagonist escape and was making gestures towards the television for her to move or run. The early scenes where she is still in the house with all four of the men, I thought there were a few solid camera set-ups with her hiding and slowly moving around corners and corridors to evade her captors. Once she gets them into the basement, it sort of loses all it's tension as she pretty much takes control from that point on in the story.
The acting in Intruders is actually hit and miss for me. Beth Riesgraf who plays our main girl is good. She plays her scenes where she has to be scared and vulnerable well enough. It's when she starts revealing herself to be more capable of taking care of herself than originally thought is where she looks like she has the most fun. Rory Culkin is the weakest link in this film. I also found him pretty weak as the killer in Scream 4. Maybe horror isn't the genre for him.
The standout for me here is Martin Starr. A pretty well known comedic actor who has starred in movies and TV shows such as Freaks And Geeks, Knocked Up, Superbad, This Is The End and Silicon Valley. Here he plays the evilest character in the film and doesn't hold back. He does some pretty despicable things and one involving a bird that automatically makes him enemy number one in Intruders. It's great to see him playing up in a much darker role.
Lastly, Intruders isn't that crash hot in terms of cinematography. While the movie is set within one house, it's all rather boring to look at. What could've worked well and made this movie look more technically impressive would have been some gorgeous shots with cameras moving over walls and up and down through the staircases or doors. It would have added a little flare to the camera work in this film. But hey, I guess I like my home invasion movies with a little Fincher to them.
DEATH TOLL: 4
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A budgie has its head smashed in with a hammer.
- A sharp pair of tweezers is stabbed into someone's neck.
- A pole is smashed into the back of someone's skull.
- Someone is shot in the chest.
- A knee is dislocated and popped back into place.
- Fingers are broken backward.
Intruders follows a long list of recently released home invasion movies. The film tries throwing in a couple of shocking twists into the mix that end up spoiled in the movie's trailer. Going into the movie knowing absolutely nothing about it might work wonders for you as you won't have it ruined by the trailers. For me, while the movie has a few solid scenes of violence and suspense and a couple of decent performances. It doesn't come close to the effectiveness and originality of better movies like You're Next.