Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Travis Zariwny
Cast: Steven Beckingham, Teresa Decher, Louise Linton
Intruder opens with a deceptively peaceful moment as a young woman stares out of her windows. Rain pounds the pavement relentlessly. She chatters away on the phone for a few minutes, complaining of the weather with a friend.
And then the lights go out, and small but foreign noises can be heard throughout the home. Alone and defenseless the woman reluctantly scans her residence. Right up until the point in which a masked man leaps from the shadows, takes control of the woman from behind and wraps the woman’s head in a plastic bag to suffocate her.
It’s an opening with a hook, and it works quite well.
We cut away to an introduction of Elizabeth (Louise Linton), a struggling musician who looks to be the picture’s protagonist, or final girl.
We spend plenty of time going through the red herring routine, but we don’t come to know the lives of the bit players exclusively, Travis Zariwny is sure to dive deep enough into Elizabeth’s mind to ensure we know her as much as we possibly can, and far better than anyone else in the picture. Elizabeth is after all the heroine.
By the time her battle for survival is in full swing we’ve come to actually like the character a great deal. She’s gorgeous but down to earth. She’s intelligent and aware of her surroundings. She’s got the air of a fighter. And – a trait that screams Laurie Strode – she’s extremely vulnerable, but tough as nails. Somehow she endures all of the mind games the mysterious villain aligns, all while remembering to think rather than act on impulse.
She applies that fortitude in the tensest of moments, both psychologically and physically. It’s a wonder to see, and if nothing else comes of this quiet little sleeper, hopefully Louise Linton pins down a few high profile gigs. She looks more than prepared to hold her own with the best of them.
If there’s one complaint I could make it’s that we see the intruder a bit too much (okay, I could also point to a minor subplot that didn’t work for me, but it’s such a small issue it doesn’t warrant much harping). There aren’t many jolts because his presence is so pronounced. But while I could conceivably complain about this issue, I can also respect the fact that Zariwny doesn’t care much for big jump scares, and prefers to feed viewers a steady dose of growing dread. He also makes the perfect choice to go big with the score, the paralyzing moments accompanied by developing strings that bully their way into explosive acoustics and ultimately alarming musical crescendos. When we hear that music take to life, we understand that every second to pass in Elizabeth’s life is a second anchored in danger. The entire effect lingers a lot longer than those fleeting jolts we’ve all become so accustomed to, no doubt about it! So, even I can effectively argue down the one area of the picture that could be interpreted as a fault.
Between a crisp sound mix, a lovely throwback aesthetic quality, a vigorous performance and a legitimate bid at leaving the viewer dealing with frayed nerves, Intruder is far more winner than failure. This eerie little creep-out crushes belief in human decency, leaving viewers with a frightfully murky idea of reality as we know it.
Look into Intruder, it’s a superior effort to a sizable number of similar themed flicks.