I like trailers. Have I mentioned that before? I can spend an embarrassing amount of time just watching trailers. Not just for new/upcoming films either. Old, new, doesn’t matter. When I go see a movie at the theater, I have to be there on time so I don’t miss any trailers. And at the end of each trailer, I hope there’s another one. If there’s not, I get a tiny pang of disappointment before my excitement for the feature presentation kicks in. It’s the reason I got into film advertising. (before I realized it wasn’t for me) So, of course I checked out the trailer for Intruders when I came across it. It was a pretty solid trailer for a film with an intriguing premise. I was sold. We all know that trailers can be deceiving, so let’s see how Intruders stacked up, shall we?
Anna takes care of her cancer-stricken brother full-time. As he nears the end of his life, she refuses to accept the reality of the situation, avoiding talks with him about it and her brother’s lawyers requests for signatures on his will (or whatever). The brightest moments of her day come when the young Meals on Wheels delivery guy, Danny (Rory Culkin, one of Home Alone’s brothers!), drops off food with a comedic flair. Despite her best efforts to ignore the problem, her brother dies. His dying wish is that she forgive her father ‘for what he did’. On Danny’s last day (because his customer is dead) she offers him a bag full of cash, which he politely refuses. On the day of her brother’s funeral, Anna cannot bring herself to go. While she anxiously listens to the answering machine (there are a lot of old things in the house) messages admonishing her to ‘be strong’ and come to the funeral, three men break into her home. She has a chance to escape, but we find out that she has a mortal fear of stepping out of the house! Oh no! She finds herself at the mercy of the intruders (TITLE!) who want to know where the money is. Instead of telling them, she fights back and traps them in her VERY strange basement. Then the fun really begins. Oh and Danny shows up and may or may not be in cahoots with the bad guys.
Let’s face it, we’ve seen home invasion done over and over. We’ve even seen the ‘tables turn’ type of home invasion film. Intruders manages to build on the tried-and-true aspects of those films and add its own unique twist. Anna isn’t the secret badass waiting to catch a fly in her murderous web. She’s a broken woman with serious emotional baggage pushed to the edge. That emotional baggage goes from crippling affliction to weapon over the course of the story. And when that table turns, the viewer is treated to some shocking surprises from the heretofore mousy woman. A twist that could easily have left the viewer rolling eyes and thinking that this was out of character is handled well here. I believed Anna was pushed too far and the tipping point is clear. As for our antagonists, they too are believable. They expected to burgle (ha, ‘burgle’) an empty house and they struggle to amend their plans when they run into Anna. Martin Starr (yes, the big ol’ nerd from Freaks and Geeks) is particularly menacing as the sociopathic second-in-command. I found the final shot of the film to be predictable, but the ride to get there is a fun one.
The Final Cut: Intruders is a tight little home invasion film with its own clever twist on the sub-genre. It shocks and surprises throughout. And it features Martin Starr playing against type with intense menace (don’t worry, he’s still snarky).