Intruders (2016)


Anna suffers from agoraphobia so crippling that when a trio of criminals break into her house, she cannot bring herself to flee. But what the intruders don’t realize is that agoraphobia is not her only psychosis.

Intruders seems to fancy itself along the same lines of You’re Next, the classic home-invasion formula with a bit of a twist, with the home-owner taking the power back. That said, it achieves this in a much less satisfying or entertaining way than others like it. The feature debut of Adam Schindler, who made his name working as assistance to various directors, including a credit on Kill Bill Vol. 2, Intruders feels a lot like what it is: a first try. While the movie does have reasonably good pacing, and is even pretty darn entertaining in the first and second acts, it’s in the final act that the movie starts to fall apart.

The movie is written by T.J. Cimfel and David White, who wrote the wrap-around segment for the atrocious V/H/S: Viral, and overall it’s much more coherent, and cohesive than their previous effort. As I mentioned above, it does fall apart in the end, but the set up works in a pretty substantial way. Actually, that sounds an awful lot like their V/H/S segment, which steadily dissolved into an incoherent mess.

One of the most familiar faces in the movie is that of Rory Culkin, of the Culkin acting dynasty, who I didn’t recognize from anything else, but was slowly being driven mad about why he seemed so familiar. My visit to IMDB indicated that I would have seen him in the schlock-tastic Signs and a number of other projects. He does a fine job in the movie, in fact the performances all around are really well done. The actors do their best with what they’re given, and sometimes that’s all you can expect. Beth Riesgraf (Leverage) is pretty good, though by the end her character’s strength and determination seems to be replaced by mental instability and a history of abuse that makes her “craaazy”, which really feels like some particularly lazy writing.


Martin Starr (Silicon Valley) is great as well, and it took me awhile to realize it was him. He seems to have filled out, and has some extra bulk, and a hell of a beard. Either way he’s great, even when he smashes a bird’s head with a hammer. You also have Jack Kesy (The Strain) and Joshua Mikel (The Last Shift), overall the cast is solid.

On top of a good cast, the movie is very competently made, and its clear that the team involved knew what they were doing. The trouble is that this kind of story has been told so many times, and has been executed significantly better. The big reveal here is interesting but seems ill-defined and like a misstep. I won’t spoil the ending, because despite my criticisms, I don’t think this is necessarily one to avoid.

All in all, you have a movie that ranks somewhere around “just fine”, these are the hardest ones to write about usually. I can’t bemoan how terrible it is, but I can’t sing its praises to the skies either. It’s one that you could sit through, and just move on with the rest of your day. It’s not especially scary, or disturbing, but it’s a movie competently made, and pretty well acted. That said, I would suggest checking out You’re Next first.

My Rating: ***


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