Starring Meagan Good, Dennis Quaid, Michael Ealy
If anyone cares to remember the 2015 Jennifer Lopez trash cinema "The Boy Next Door,” where a realistic situation is turned into smut tv on screen, that’s exactly what you are getting with "The Intruder." These movies (I refuse to call them films because there is zero cinematic integrity) are bad on their own, but they bring out the worse in audience members. During the screening for "The Intruder" unruly audience members yelled, talked, and conversed throughout the running time as if they were in their own living room. Maybe that’s the idea, go rile the audience up in some communal experience so you don’t notice how bad the acting is, how predictable the plot and how stupid all the characters are being.
Annie (Good) and Scott (Ealy) Russell have just purchased a $3 million dollar home in Napa Valley, trading their busy life in the city for a quiet place to start a family. The property is called Foxglove, like the beautiful but deadly flower, and owned for generations by the Peck family. Charlie (Quaid) the last of the Peck's lost his wife to cancer and is selling the massive estate to go live with his daughter. Annie loves the house and feels sorry for Charlie, who continues to linger around after the property is sold. Scott becomes suspicious of Charlie’s "friendly visits," and finally asking him to stay off their property. A little digging into Charlie’s past sets off additional alarm bells, and soon the new homeowners find themselves in a nightmare with no escape.
'The Intruder' is repulsive, uninspired, trash cinema.
"The Intruder" can’t wait to get to the part of the script where we enter hyper-reality. The slow nervous build in the first half, with Quaid showing only touches of uncomfortable behavior, allowing the viewer to identify with the situation. Like most of these unsophisticated suspense drama’s, the wife or female lead role is written to appear naïve. Annie and Scott both blame their tame behavior on life in the city (he doesn’t want guns anywhere on his property). However, Annie continues to make horrible decisions, allowing this stranger man into her home, which becomes so obvious a trigger that the audience will scream at her from their sticky theater seats. Actually, these characters go beyond naïve, leading to a point in the film where you throw up your hands and just wait for their stupidity to be rewarded with severe consequence.
One might argue “it’s so bad, it’s good,” but "The Intruder" functions on such a low level of quality that I found every element, from the uninspired cinematography to the bland musical score, simply lazy. Quaid has a knack for playing crazy and he’s flirted with this sort of insanity on screen before. He actually played the protagonist version of this story when it was called “Cold Creek Manor”. However, instead of allowing the Charlie character his own slice of original madness, he is written as a composite of every other home invader madman. There is even one scene where he hacks his way through a wooden door with a knife for a “Here’s Johnny” moment. "The Intruder" is a bad movie, that’s obvious, what’s worse is the side effect films like this have on culture and our society.
The Intruder is a repulsive film that can bring out the worst of humanity in a public theater.