Official Synopsis: PANIC ROOM meets YOU’RE NEXT in the gripping home invasion horror-thriller INTRUDERS, full of shocks and surprises. After three criminals, including fan favorite Martin Starr (DEAD SNOW), break into a supposedly empty house, they find themselves in a deadly game of cat and mouse with the occupant (“Leverage”‘s Beth Riesgraf), a shy young woman with a few nasty tricks of her own to play on the invaders.
Intruders is an interesting, if somewhat uneven, directorial debut from Adam Schindler. The ‘home invasion’ trope is a well trodden space within the horror-thriller genre; highlights include When a Stranger Calls, Funny Games, and the more recent (and incredible) You’re Next, which Intruders takes some beats from. Beth Riesgraf (Leverage) stars as Anna, a young woman who suffers from agoraphobia. After the death of her brother, she finds herself alone in the house she inherited, dealing with more than just the inner demons that exist there.
The pacing of the movie is tightly wound–within fifteen minutes of the film, the three robbers are already in the house, threatening Anna’s safety and her sanity. While some films might need more setup, Schindler does an excellent job setting up the characters, giving subtle hints to the rotten nature of the house itself; the disarray that exists around Anna and her brother, and how tenuous Anna’s relationship is with the outside world — which can be found only with her brother’s lawyer, (Leticia Jimenez), and a young man who delivers food (Rory Culkin). We find out that Anna hasn’t left the house in ten years, and the isolation, the anxiety that exists within her around any threat of the outside, is palpable.
Beth is so intensely likeable, and does an incredible job of creating a sympathetic character in Anna early on within the film so that when she’s under threat, we root for her to survive and to start plotting a way to escape her attackers. Beth makes Anna intensely likeable, and does an incredible job of creating a sympathetic character early on within the film. So much so, that when she’d under threat, we root for her to survive and to start plotting a way to escape her attackers.
At the thirty minute mark, however, is when the huge plot twist starts to expose itself, and the viewer begins to realize that Anna is no ordinary shut-in, and that the home she has been trapped in is not your typical mansion.
The moment Anna utters the words, “You have no idea what I’m like,” her demeanor changes, and it’s clear that whatever fear she still has, she’s determined to no longer be the prey. Beth does an incredible job vacillating between Anna’s cold determination to deal with the men trying to kill her, and her struggle with her fear and personal demons.
What happens from here on out is often brutal, and takes some strange, if somewhat cliched turns. While we race towards the finish, it doesn’t matter if the watcher has determined what the outcome will be, or not. Anna, in many ways, is searching for catharsis, as she enacts her revenge against these intruders.
If we are left with the same feeling, however, is debatable; I felt that the movie could have used another ten minutes towards the back half of the movie once Anna’s backstory is fully revealed. The reason why she is agoraphobic is such a gut punch that it took me a moment to catch up with the movie again. It left me wishing for a further delving into the relationship between Anna and her brother, and their experiences before his death. However, the concept is sound, and despite the missteps I think the movie is worth the watch.
If it’s playing in your area, take the time out of your day to catch it in theaters, or rent it on VOD.
INTRUDERS opens in cinemas and on VOD Friday, January 15th from Momentum Pictures.