Sunday, January 31, 2016

Intruders (2016)

It's my first new review of 2016 and things are already off to a pretty good start. Adam Schindler's indie flick Intruders isn't amazing by any means, but it's a super fun horror thriller that fully embraces its B-movie roots. It's not The Babadook or It Follows, but it'll do... at least until The Witch finally comes out next month.

Anna (Beth Reisgraf) is an agoraphobe who, after her brother (Timothy T. McKinney) dies from pancreatic cancer, suddenly finds herself alone. She's terrified to go outside, but so desperate for human connection that she impulsively offers a pile of money to Dan (played with genuine charm by Rory Culkin), a Meals-On-Wheels delivery driver who clearly has a bit of a crush on the weird blond lady in the big spooky house.

This ill-conceived act of kindness comes back to haunt Anna, however. Unable to go to the funeral, she finds herself under siege when a trio of would-be burglars (Jack Kesy, Joshua Mikel, and a legitimately scary Martin Starr) — assuming she wouldn't be home — breaks in to try to find the money.

This is as standard a setup for a home-invasion thriller as you could possibly imagine. Add in a diabetic Kristen Stewart and we're basically looking at a cheapo version of Panic Room.

But the movie takes a pretty wild twist at the halfway point, and it just gets weirder from there. Anna and her late brother, as it turns out, aren't quite what they appear to be.

The movie isn't particularly scary, but Schindler knows how to get a solid reaction from the audience. There are a few good, wince-inducing body-horror moments (several involve a dislocated kneecap), and some of the plot twists provide genuine surprises. It grows into a fun puzzle box of a movie, half Home Alone and half Saw but without all the blood. Unfortunately, it kind of runs out of steam in the final third, as the script resorts to some clunky "as-you-know-Bob" exposition before limping into a pretty rote climax.

Still, there's enough here to recommend. The performances are all good in that kind of vaguely over-acty direct-to-video style that you expect in these kinds of movies. Starr is by far the best, using his laid-back, monotone persona to create a sense of real menace.

This is far from the best horror film you're likely to see this year, and I think Schindler probably has a much better movie in him down the line. Still, if you're looking for an entertaining slab of B-movie weirdness, you could do a lot worse than this one.

No comments: