INTRUDERS

PrintE-mail Written by Ian White

Anna is an agoraphobic, a condition brought on by a childhood trauma. Ever since her parents died she has lived with her brother in their family home. Now her brother is dead and Anna’s illness is so severe that she can't even muster the courage to leave the house and attend his funeral. But J.P., Perry and Vance don't know that. Anna’s delivery boy has told them she has a lot of money stored in the house and, on the day of the funeral when they expect the house to be empty, they break in. But despite her illness Anna is not as vulnerable as she seems, and a deadly cat and mouse game begins. As the hunters become the hunted it is terrifyingly obvious that Anna and her house both have their secrets.

A combination of Wait Until Dark, Panic Room and - but only in a minor way - the original Saw, Intruders is a flawed film that could have been so much more.

Beth Riesgraf, as Anna, gives a fantastic performance. She really is director Adam Schindler’s secret weapon and she doesn’t let him down. The opening scenes are particularly well developed and her character is intricately fascinating. But the premise starts to unravel as soon as the thieves arrive and the movie becomes a generic scuttling-around-hidden- passageways thriller. Suddenly Anna becomes another cookie-cutter victim-who-fights-back and for quite a long stretch of time the film seems less interested in her and more interested in the raiders, which weakens it considerably. Maybe because we lose Anna's point of view the story loses its tension, although the moment when she realises the men are coming to break in and her agoraphobia won't allow her to escape the house is a great sequence that really delivers. As for the thieves themselves, they're the usual crew - blandly swaggering from room to room, falling into Anna's traps, and not as intimidating as they should be (even though Perry acts the hard-man with Anna’s budgie, which results in a pretty unpleasant decapitated budgie close-up).

In short, as soon as the men arrive we’re just waiting for them to die and the deaths themselves are understated but effective. If Schindler and his writers had kept the focus on Anna and resisted all the gimmicks, this might have been a compelling character study of a woman whose trauma is teetering on the edge of psychopathy. As it is, despite all the trappings (literally) of her booby-trapped home, and an third act revelation which, if hardly original, is quite well done and seems psychologically true, Anna never quite gets there as the revenging heroine.

With a little more script development and a little less Home Alone meets The Cabin in the Woods, Intruders could have been a very good film. As it is, it's definitely worth a watch but not the must-see it might have been.

INTRUDERS / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: ADAM SCHINDLER / SCREENPLAY: T.J. CIMFEL, DAVID WHITE / STARRING: BETH RIESGRAF, RORY CULKIN, JACK KESY / RELEASE DATE: 6TH JUNE




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