Intruder (IFC Midnight, NR)

Intruder is nothing but a wasted opportunity.

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In a time when films like You’re Next and Hush show how low-budget home invasion thrillers can be effective, Intruder feels like the clichéd outlier.

Intruder follows a young cellist named Elizabeth (Louise Linton), who has landed a dream gig and is taking a break from her work on a stormy weekend. This is a time for her to do the things she has missed out on, such as reconnecting with an old flame. However, there is someone else who is just as interested in what she does. That person breaks into her apartment at night, raiding her space and caressing her face as she sleeps.

For a lot of people, there is nothing scarier than someone you don’t know coming into your privacy and threatening you. Intruder has that premise, but offers little else. Home invasion thrillers have build-up and, in the end, a payoff to all that suspense. There is no suspense from the beginning because it is hard to feel for our main character. That makes the payoff feel more like a robbery of one’s time. The film’s director/writer Travis Zariwny, who previously directed a remake of Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever, brings little imagination. There is not a trope of a home invasion left untouched. Even the weather feels gimmicky, with endless rain looking to serve the mood but failing. I will give a special shout-out to composer Nathaniel Levisay, whose work reminded me of Marco Beltrami’s in Scream. It is just the right amount of chilling and playful energy.

Linton, who previously starred in Zariwny’s Cabin Fever remake and serves as producer, shows the chops of a charismatic actress, but when her character is a blank slate in need of coloring, those charms are nothing but a waste. There is an internal conflict Elizabeth goes through in the film that should prove an easy choice. However, we’re led to believe this conflict is eating her up inside. It does not work. Part of that is the script, but Linton is not doing anything to help it. John Robinson co-stars as a manic admirer of Elizabeth who stares eerily and that is about it.

It is also worth pointing out that Moby is in the film as Elizabeth’s frustrated conductor. Moby is known as a famous DJ and music producer who has worked with the likes of Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, and Daft Punk. His musical artistry is no doubt wonderful, but his acting is a different story entirely. The character is angry at Elizabeth’s indecision when it comes to her future. His outbursts make me question if Moby has ever been angry in his life.

This film’s biggest sin is that it is not scary or, in the very least, entertaining. The film is only 91 minutes long, but man, did I feel those minutes tick by. When the intruder makes his way into her apartment, Elizabeth is sleeping most of the time. I guess we have found the world’s heaviest sleeper because it is so long before she notices anything, even when he is physically touching her. The film’s intruder is just another man in a black hoodie with his face not being shown by the camera. There are a couple of red herrings as to who it could be, but you will be able to guess who it is by the end. I will not give away when she finally notices that someone is in her apartment, but it comes too little too late. Intruder is nothing but a wasted opportunity. | Bill Loellke


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