What happens when there are more rooms in the house than people? That is the question many Hollywood films of this genre have answered before. Director Deon Taylor’s ‘The Intruder’ follows a similar route with a very limited number of characters, but at least, one of whom will stay with you much after the film is over. And no points for guessing, it is the intruder himself – Dennis Quaid, who single-handedly lifts this otherwise predictable and mediocre film into a scare fest. Quaid is so believably unplugged in his portrayal of the man obsessed with his home that he makes you forgive the many clichés. Of course, he enjoys the best writing amongst the cast, with shades that are evident from the start, but unravel slowly and mystifyingly. Quaid’s measured expressions and fit body compliment his character’s visceral traits that help him pull off a delightfully menacing act.
In contrast, Meagan Good’s character comes off as a bit of a stretch, unaware of the looming threat despite such telltale signs. Good is a good actor (pun intended), but despite her best efforts, the character never seems very convincing. Micheal Ealy, on the other hand, gets a reasonably decent arc to follow. That of a husband, who goes the extra mile to ensure his wife is happy, even if it means doing things that go against his basic instincts. Writer David Loughery keeps the proceedings paced out with regular shout-at-the-screen scares, but it’s the predictability of the plot that often kills the fun. Thankfully, the makers have tried some new hacks in execution that somehow build tension. However, what eventually goes against ‘The Intruder’ are the clichés and lack of any substantial build up to the characters and their back stories. There are cursory references, but the director never shows any genuine interest in exploring them. Consequently, the viewer is often left wondering with a few nagging questions about the characters and their behaviour. Since the plot itself moves on probable lines, it does feel a bit dragged.
If you’re a fan of the genre, you would have seen better and far worse than ‘The Intruder’. It falls somewhere in the middle, letting you enjoy the scares without explicit blood and gore, but also showing you what you might already know.