'Intruders' (2016)

© Momentum Pictures

Synopsis: An agoraphobic woman turns the tables on burglars who break into her home.

Cast: Beth Riesgraf, Jack Kesy, Martin Starr, Rory Culkin, Leticia Jimenez, Joshua Mikel

Director: Adam Schindler

Studio: Momentum Pictures

MPAA Rating: NR

Running Time: 90 minutes

Release Date: January 15, 2016 (in theaters/on demand)

Intruders Movie Trailer

Intruders Movie Review

2016 almost featured two thrillers entitled Shut In, one opening in January and one in July starring Naomi Watts. But somewhere along the way, the first Shut In was renamed Intruders (not to be confused with the 2012 Clive Owen film), but a turd by any other name is still a turd.

The Plot

Following the death of her brother Conrad from cancer, Anna (Beth Riesgraf) develops a paralyzing case of agoraphobia, preventing her from taking a step outside their childhood home -- even when it comes time for Conrad's funeral. Presuming she'll be gone for the ceremony, a trio of men -- leader J.P. (Jack Kesy), his apprehensive brother Vance (Joshua Mikel) and resident psychopath Perry (Martin Starr) -- break into her house seeking a stash of money she unwisely flashed a day earlier.

But unbeknownst to them, Anna's cash isn't the only secret stored in the home. Thanks to her family's dark past, she's no passive victim and has more than enough ammunition -- literal and figurative -- to turn the tables on the burglars and turn the captors into captives.

The End Result

There's something irresistible about the concept of a movie that turns the well-worn trope of the helpless horror victim on its ear, making the victim the aggressor. rode this formula to success in 2013, and the entire "rape-revenge" exploitation sub-genre is built on that scenario. However, Intruders butchers the premise with a scatterbrained script plagued by illogic, inconsistencies and annoying characters.

The burglars seem to be schizophrenic, with characterizations that veer wildly from sympathetic antihero to violent sociopath. One goes from a level-headed voice of reason, for instance, to wanting to rape Anna and burn her house down. You get the sense writers T.J. Cimfel and David White were trying for "complex" villains who aren't entirely evil but then abandoned that strategy when they realized how dull the story became.

Either way, they're not likable, even when they do show glimpses of humanity, and frankly, neither is Anna. Herself doing a 180 throughout the movie, she flexes two sides that are equally irritating, from sniveling victim to sniveling, hair-trigger lunatic. And neither protagonist nor antagonist seem to have any coherent plan of action or ability to stick to their scheme. Captors let captives run around willy-nilly with little sense of urgency, making the already lethargic, unimaginative action sequences all the more dull. (Oh look, someone else is locked alone in a room!)

The tone is likewise all over the place, as the film doesn't know if it wants to be an over-the-top, sensationalized shocker with cartoonishly evil villains and a ridiculous rationale for the protagonist's actions or a more realistic, gritty thriller with human characters, and the end result lies in a muddied, thrill-less, exasperating middle ground.

The Skinny

  • Acting: C- (Melodramatic performances at the mercy of uneven characterizations.)
  • Direction: C- (Fails to generate tension, thrills or scares.)
  • Script: D- (All it has going for it is its basic premise.)
  • Gore/Effects: C (Not as gory as the poster implies.)
  • Overall: D+ (Hard to root for any of the harebrained characters in this dull, dimwitted thriller.)

Intruders is directed by Adam Schindler and is not rated by the MPAA. Release date: January 15, 2016 (in theaters/on demand).

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