Award-winning director Deon Taylor (TRAFFIK, SUPREMACY) brings a fresh and exciting perspective to a largely unoriginal genre with THE INTRUDER.
Everything seems to be going great for young couple Annie (Meagan Good) and Scott (Michael Ealy). Scott’s excelling in his career and maybe they’re ready to buy that house in the country of which Annie’s always dreamed.
Enter Charlie Peck (Dennis Quaid). The homeowner has a good feeling about the upwardly mobile couple and decides they are the ones who should own the home he loves. However, letting it go proves more challenging.
As far as home-invasion films go, THE INTRUDER explores relationships and the things we can’t let go better than any other film in the genre.
David Laughery’s screenplay depicts a loving couple in realistic turmoil. One of the most relatable onscreen couples, I love how the problems they have are genuine relationship issues and that having those issues doesn’t feel like it’s directing the narrative in regards to other aspects of the story. The circumstances in which they find themselves would have been largely the same without their drama.
While I find myself wanting to scream at Annie on more than one occasion, I really like her. She’s the kind of person with whom I’d want to be friends. She has a big heart, although that may not always be a good thing. Sometimes giving people the benefit of the doubt can take you into territory you don’t want to go.
Talking about going into certain territory, could we talk about Dennis Quaid for a moment? My very first exposure to the actor was his portrayal of Mike in the 1979 film BREAKING AWAY. The movie about a group of “cutters” (a derogatory term for kids who weren’t college bound) still holds up today. He was that likable guy who could’ve done anything if his circumstances had been slightly different. For this role, the actor morphs that youthful, winning smile into something deeply unsettling. Charlie Peck is a far cry from Mike the Cutter. His smile is the stuff of nightmares. We have never seen Dennis Quaid this disturbing, and the way he tackles this role makes me wonder if someone should check the crawl spaces in his house for bodies. You know, just in case.
While I loved the mix of humor and horror, THE INTRUDER has its downside. Like many horror films, some of the characters just do stupid things. While there’s a fair amount of set-up to justify their actions, we reach a point where we just can’t buy that any rational adult would behave the way that they do. Even so, we have to make allowances. Not everyone thinks through situations the same, and we’ve seen a lot of people lately behaving in ways that don’t seem all that sensible.
Deon Taylor also gives us some nice jump starts, but not all of them are especially believable. There are moments where I seriously doubt anyone would fail to notice a person in such close proximity. I can sense when someone’s watching me from across a room so how would anyone not at least feel uneasy if someone were watching from closer. Perhaps our intuition has been dulled too much time on our smartphones.
Despite the occasional flaws, THE INTRUDER does something unique and different with the genre. I had a blast laughing one minute and cringing the next.