Cast: Dennis Quaid, Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, Joseph Sikora
Director: Deon Taylor
It’s hard to argue that Dennis Quaid really cares anymore. Needless to say he’s made some questionable movie choices in the past few years and it looks like The Intruder is just another addition to the list. It’s the type of low-budget horror-thriller I would expect to come out around September or October, but sure let’s push the release up to the weekend after Endgame, that seems like a logical decision. This movie rides the line between an homage and a ripoff and makes no real attempt to something unique. The story is underdeveloped, the characters are clichéd, and the lack of any real tension all lead to The Intruder failing to meet the low bar set for it.
The film follows Scott (Ealy) and Annie (Good) Howard, a young married couple who want to move out of their busy apartment in San Francisco and find a nice home in the country. When Charlie Peck (Quaid) agrees to sell his house to them and retire to Florida, the Howards think they finally found their dream home. This isn’t the case though as Charlie has a hard time letting go of the only house he’s ever lived in and goes to drastic measures to keep what he thinks is his and puts the Howards in harm’s way as a result. One of the main things that separates a great thriller from that of a cheap knockoff thriller is in a great thriller we’ll learn something valuable about the characters. Either the protagonists will be complex and morally gray or the antagonist will have a unique motivation that makes him compelling to watch. In The Intruder, we get neither of those things as the Howards are cookie-cutter characters while Charlie is a ripoff of Jack Torrance. Starting with Scott and Annie, we never really learn anything about these characters except when they disagree about Charlie’s persistence on their property. At one point we begin to learn the issues they’ve had in their relationship, but nothing ever comes of that scene. We need to know more about these characters other than they’re a young attractive married couple if this movie ever wanted to separate itself from its competition. Moving onto Charlie, this movie legitimately believes it has the next great thriller villain, but it comes off as fake and disingenuous. Deon Taylor’s favorite movie has to be The Shining, because there are multiple scenes with Charlie that are almost shot-for-shot remakes. From little things like Charlie’s creepy smile to more obvious scenes him breaking down a bathroom door, if you’re going to take from one of the most influential horror-thrillers you better surround that movie with other elements to make it successful. Much like the characters, the plot is incredibly predictable and you know everything that is going to happen before it happens. This ends up creating a very formulaic environment that becomes tough to get through the 102 minute runtime. I can’t be too upset though as this isn’t the type of movie that really seems to be the most inspired of all time, so compared to what this could’ve been, it’s fairly inoffensive.
Overall, looking at what’s out in theaters right now, there are much better options than The Intruder. While it’s far from the best movie of the year, it’s not necessarily the worst one either. During the early part of almost every year, there’s usually one dud horror/thriller that comes out and does well financially but doesn’t look to break down any barriers in the movie industry. I think this movie really served as a quick paycheck for Quaid to be as eccentric as possible in the role and if that’s the case, one could argue the paycheck was definitely earned.
Overall Score: 3.5/10