During one of Oregon's most violent storms, a young cellist seeks solitude and comfort in the safety of her large apartment, but soon realizes she might not be home alone.
June 15, 2016
There’s that old-timey term, for when you’ve struck gold, or perhaps stumbled on something you’ve been looking for – or maybe it could be used to describe the moment you realize that someone has reinvented the wheel.
Or in this case, if someone has taken a tired and cliché horror movie formula and done something drastic and inspired with it.
That word is “Eureka!”
Wait… my apologies, I’m looking for an antonym to “Eureka!” What’s a good choice for such a word? ‘Cause I surely need some colorful term which is the polar opposite of “Eureka!” to describe what I’ve just had to endure while watching the forthcoming home invasion thriller, Intruder.
Intruder follows Elizabeth, a young and beautiful concert cellist, with the Portland, Oregon Symphony. She has a break from her work for a long and stormy weekend (I know the Northwest is all about rain, but the amount of rain this film portrays is insane) and settles in to her apartment to chill, cat-sit a friend’s feline and catch up on some chores. Thing is, someone is intensely interested in her and her various comings-and-goings – enough so, that he slithers into and around her apartment, investigating her underwear drawer, caressing her sleeping face and pissing in her kitchen sink.
There is not an original bone in this Intruder’s body. I was actually shocked, as it’s amazing to me that a bad film can still blow me away with its boring rehash of overdone clichés. As many films of such uninspired nonsense as I’ve had to screen — that I can still be disappointed — tells me that I am an eternal optimist.
Producer and lead actress Louise Linton – who did an amazing job in writer/director Travis Z’s remake of Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever – could not be less inspired here. I fault not only the script, which is lackluster from start to finish, but there are no bold choices from the actress. She has no personality in the film, no spunk (a far cry from her “Deputy Winston” in the aforementioned remake) and the fact that her character of Elizabeth has no journey to speak of and no real strength, doesn’t help Linton’s case. It’s a very bland, very boring and very “blah” performance. But I think that’s just a failure on all ends.
The script tries to offer a few red herrings, as the intruder’s identity is withheld until the end. But those attempts to distract or throw us off – they’re poorly written, executed and as are so many other pieces to this film, uninspired. Of course, the reveal was no shock, but that could also have to do with the fact that I had nothing invested in any of the characters or plot points. I just didn’t care. So why should some wannabe fancy “wow” moment provide me with any sudden change of heart?
There is an overabundance of slow-motion raindrops for transition purposes, and frankly, it was distracting and felt a bit indulgent. Also, the continuous shots of the cat reacting to the figure/person wandering unnoticed throughout the apartment – quickly wore out their welcome. We get it. The cat sees everything.
On that same note, the trick of having the main character distracted by whatever she was doing in the foreground, and the dark movement of the “intruder” in the background – either flitting by or closing in on Elizabeth – is a tired trick in horror films at large, but in this film, it was used over and over and over again. Not only did this overuse defeat the purpose of creating tension or engaging in hopeful “boo” moments, it simply became annoying.
There are also other problems with basic logic. It’s been a beef of mine when it comes to other home invasion thrillers; that we – as human beings – can certainly be clueless, but if someone has invaded your home, you’ll have at least a small sense of “something’s off” (your Spidey-sense is tingling). But in Intruder, we’re expected to believe that Elizabeth would not have woken up on the numerous times that the intruder was at her bedside – petting the cat, caressing Elizabeth’s face, kissing her lips. I mean, c’mon – that’s just asking the audience to dig far too deeply into that well of “willing suspension of disbelief”.
Not to mention the fact that, what would realistically be a bloody murder in her bedroom, leaves no evidence (not a drop of blood) and when there clearly should have been some sort of mess (it’s carpet, not wood floors), she saw nothing. But this was never addressed. And finally, the idea that the intruder had in-and-out access to the apartment (unit and building), wouldn’t have left at least one chance for the main character to have caught him? It was a constant barrage of ridiculous logic problems.
And don’t even get me started about the corpse under the bed.
Annoyingly, there is a cut after the final reveal – to the beginning of the closing credits – only to abruptly jump back in for, not one – but two – short epilogues. As much as I didn’t care about the film anyway, the film should have ended when those first glimpses of titles showed up. It definitely would have been more powerful. And on that token, the reveal was actually quite clever. I’ll give it that.
And I almost forgot, Moby (yes, that Moby) has a supporting role as Elizabeth’s conductor. What possessed him or his people to take on such a thankless role in such a less-than film, will be forever beyond me. And despite his amazing artistry in the studio, his acting was nothing to write music about.
For as much as I truly enjoyed the Cabin Fever remake, this terrible film was an even bigger disappointment – knowing that the same director was at both helms.
There are no surprises here. There is no originality here. Intruder has nothing to offer, even to the casual horror film viewer.
Intruder is scheduled for theatrical release on June 15th. To say that this film warrants a warning of “avoid at all costs”, would be a gross understatement. Again, there is certainly nothing to be found in Intruder to warrant loud exclamations, proclaiming the finding of real gold.