Every 18 months there’s a movie about a person(s) involved with a stranger who appears to be completely normal, until they reveal they’re crazy CRAZY – some people would call this a normal day on a dating app. These films usually boil down to people ignoring humongous red flags and said crazy person hiding a very violent and/or shady past.
Director Deon Taylor gave us a couple-in-despair movie last year with Traffik. He’s back putting couples in danger with his new offering, The Intruder.
The Intruder follows a young couple, Scott (Michael Ealy) and Annie (Megan Good), as they purchase a new home in Napa Valley. Charlie (Denis Quaid) owns the home and has very strong attachments to the property. After the sale, it’s not long before Scott realizes Charlie is lingering around and showing up to the house unannounced. As Scott learns more about Charlie’s sketchy past, the couple find themselves in a clash with Charlie as he tries to reclaim what he’s lost.
Like many of the cheap thrillers Hollywood cranks out, The Intruder has a weak script that’s fun at times but shaky for most of the film. The Couple Terrorized by a Crazy Person sub-genre requires at least one half of the couple to be oblivious to all the warning signs. This role goes to Annie. There’s “clueless” and then there’s “Are you STILL letting this crazy man in your home in the middle of the night why you’re alone” level of stupidity – Annie is the latter. Good is great as the loving wife that just wants to start a family. She’s might be a little too loving. Annie has a soft spot for Charlie despite Charlie behaving like someone in a Sexual Harassment at the Workplace video.
Michael Ealy is great as the city kid that can’t seem to do “manly” things. He struggles to open a bottle of wine at one point and can’t seem to get the Christmas tree off the car properly. Ealy plays this role well. It’s easy to believe Scott is the type of guy that would have a hard time being assertive with someone like Charlie.
The engine that drives this film is Dennis Quaid and all of the craziness he brings. Charlie is the villain and also the most entertaining and amusing part of the movie. He has all the crazy moments and some unnervingly creepy scenes. Charlie’s creep levels are all over the place. There’s a scene when Charlie spies on Annie in the shower and while he’s watching her, he takes his shirt off. Charlie was so unhinged; It was unclear what he was going to do and why he removed his shirt. The best part – Charlie’s crazy makes you feel like Scott and Annie are always in danger.
The plot tries to build suspense but the script is so hilariously bad, it undercuts a lot of those moments. Deon Taylor helps get some of the thrilling suspense back by adding a few well shot jump scares and using light in the dark to reveal something or someone creepily hiding in the shadows. The BET made-for-tv soundtrack really takes you out of the suspense. I’m not sure who made the choice on this soundtrack but it was a bad one.
The Intruder is everything you think it is. It’s a hilariously bad thriller with some good performances and a few entertaining moments. Quaid steals the movie as Creepy Charlie but it’s not enough to save this movie from being more unintentionally funny than scary. I’m sure we’ll be back in 18 months with another movie about a couple trapped on a hike called The Guide.