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Review: ‘The Intruder’ is a Simplistic but Engaging Thriller

May 3, 2019Ferdosa Abdi

The Intruder doesn't attempt to break the mold or reinvent the thriller genre — specifically, the young-hot-couple-gets-terrorized-by-a-creepy-psycho-with-boundary-issues genre. Instead, it is a simplistic thriller designed for maximum audience engagement.

Screen Gems, the studio that brought us Obsessed, When the Bough Breaks and The Perfect Guy, is back with another by-the-numbers thriller that is just so much fun. In director Deon Taylor's The Intruder, Scott (Michael Ealy) and Annie (Meagan Good) are a young and successful couple that decide to kickstart their plans of having a family in an idyllic home. They purchase a house in Napa Valley from Charlie (Dennis Quaid), who at first glance looks like a grizzled, but decent, man. He is reasonably reluctant to part with his lifelong home but sweetens the deal for the couple he seems to be taken with, and in no time at all, Scott and Annie move in.

As the couple adjusts to their new place, however, they find that the house comes with more than they bargained for — like a previous owner who is unable to grasp the concept of selling his house. Scott and Annie disagree with how to approach the situation, as Annie is sympathetic to the widower, but Scott sees something sinister lurking beneath the surface.

The Intruder is in many ways geared to cause a reaction from the audience. This is the kind of film where you cannot help but tell the protagonist that cannot hear you to "turn around" or "don't go into that room." It's the kind of fun engagement that classic thrillers of the '80s and '90s used to receive, and which we don't get enough of these days. And, when all is said and done, the audience is sure to let out a sigh of relief and a slight chuckle over the ordeal they just went through with our heroes.

The movie knowingly plays with the audience by slowly unraveling the drama, teasing the audience with Charlie's increasingly dangerous behavior. And when it all comes to a head, the audience can't help but feel that they are personally being victimized by this crazed madman. Quaid does a lot to sell the insanity of the film, which would not have worked without his scenery-chewing performance.

The result is plenty of fun, especially with friends. The Intruder has all the right ingredients — attractive actors, a terrific performance from Quaid, a fair number of great jokes, and a simple premise that will frighten just about anyone — and is a prime example of a popcorn movie.

The Intruder releases May 3rd, 2019 from Sony Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for violence, terror, some sexuality, language and thematic elements. Its runtime is 1 hr. 42 min.

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