The Intruder follows Annie (Meagan Good of The Unborn) and Scott (Michael Ealy of Jacob’s Ladder 2019) Russell, a young couple who have just purchased a beautiful home outside San Francisco. The only problem with their new domicile is that Charlie, the the previous owner (played by Dennis Quaid) is not quite ready to part with his beloved dwelling.
I wanted to like this film. I wanted to be able to enjoy Dennis Quaid chewing the scenery and creating genuine terror in the process. Unfortunately, there’s no genuine terror to be had here. The Intruder is effectively void of scares and surprises. It feels disjointed and unsure of precisely what it’s trying to be.
While Dennis Quaid more than delivered on the scenery chewing for which I had hoped, the film never takes off. It fails to captivate the viewer and sweep them away to a place where they can suspend their disbelief. Instead, the audience is left yelling at the screen (but for all the wrong reasons).
One huge issue I had with the flick with the way screenwriter David Loughery (Nurse 3D) scripted Meagan Good’s character, Annie. It was impossible for me to believe her refusal to acknowledge that Charlie could be a threat to her safety. And her level of naiveté isn’t supported by anything in her backstory. By all accounts, she’s an intelligent woman with common sense. So, it’s difficult to accept that she has zero reservations about letting a man her husband vehemently distrusts and suspects of major wrongdoing into her home multiple times.
Director Deon Taylor (Chain Letter) really sealed the film’s fate with his inability to stick to a consistent tone. In some scenes he goes for suspenseful (with little success) and other times, he appears to be deliberately shooting for hammy and over the top. The two make for a very perplexing juxtaposition. It’s almost as if Dennis Quaid wasn’t in the same film as Meagan Good and Michael Ealy. It felt as though Taylor was asking Quaid to play the role of the villain like he was channelling Jack Nicholson and told Good and Ealy they were in a Lifetime Channel original feature.
Taylor throws in a few cheap and hollow jump scares here and there (IE: The husband and wife scare one another by creeping around the house at night) but the tension is never palpable. Moreover, the characters we are supposed to identify with are not developed to the point where the audience is likely to take an investment in their plight. They’re shallow and bland. We watch them existing but there’s no sense of attachment.
The lack of character development is especially damning when the finale rolls around. For me, it was like I could see the characters going through the motions but since we weren’t really given a chance to warm up to them, the peril they were facing seemed pretty benign.
As far as the Blu-ray release: The picture and sound quality are perfectly sufficient. And the special features were kind of a pleasant surprise. I was expecting something a little more bare bones. However, the film’s home video release offers not just a commentary track with the director but with members of the cast and the director. Moreover, there are a number of deleted scenes and an alternate ending. Additionally, there is a making of featurette and a gag reel. Unfortunately, the alternate ending is nothing special and the deleted scenes didn’t add anything to the film. Also, the making of featurette doesn’t really do anything to shed light on any of the strange decisions made throughout the film’s production. However, it’s nice to see a major studio putting some love into their physical media releases. I have to give Screen Gems major props for that.
If you’d like to check it out for yourself, The Intruder is now available on DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and DigitalHD.
WICKED RATING: 4/10
Director: Deon Taylor
Written by: David Loughery
Stars: Meagan Good, Michael Ealy, and Dennis Quaid
Release Date: July 30, 2019 (Home Video)
Studio/Production Co: Screen Gems
Budget: $8 Million (Estimated)
Sub-genre: Home Invasion