Intruder sets out to do something daring but drowns its own ambitions in mediocrity. It’s unfortunate because director Travis Zariwny’s film brims with potential, which is never obtained.
Legions of horror and thriller fans might be let down by Intruder because it doesn’t rely on continuous gore and violence to shock the audience. This is a movie about mood and if it had some momentum for charging its 95-minute runtime, it could have been an effective chiller. Alas.
Elizabeth (Louise Linton) is left in her large apartment alone for a weekend. Her apartment is part of a house and her landlord has gone out of town. She may get a visit from her boyfriend, who she seems to be on the fritz with, but mostly Elizabeth, who is a cellist, is going to spend the weekend practicing.
But then – as described in its most IMDb-approved way, as to not give any major spoilers away– Elizabeth might not be on her own in the spacious apartment. The sense of looming danger throughout is theoretically enticing but Zariwny doesn’t embrace the threats he has created. Instead he packs his screenplay with boring people, who have incredibly boring conversations.
Stylistically and narratively, Intruder piles on the tropes. The rainstorm! The shifty neighbor! The other shifty neighbor! It’s all so tired and well-worn. It’s the downfalls of aspiring to make a film in a thankless genre. Zariwny puts the mood and tension in the background and tries to build suspense through a collective series of B-roll. The camera focuses on the doorknob, the windowsill and the drip-drops of the rain more than what’s going on in the main story.
Though more frustrating than aggressively bad, Intruder deserves partial credit for not spewing blood and guts everywhere in the name of making a horror picture. Finding the right mood is a tough task and after a while I grew tired of trying to give Intruder credit for what it wanted to do instead of what it ended up doing. The final scene – the very last frame – is the most effective part of the movie but by then it’s far too little and way too late.
Verdict: 2 out of 5
There are glimpses of something inspired in Travis Zariwny’s Intruder but the writer-director fails to capitalize on what he set up for himself. It’s a frustrating collection of stock horror B-roll shots.