Just because you mimic the formula for a painting, or follow a recipe, doesn’t mean you will get the same outcome. The filmmakers of The Intruder had to learn that the hard way.
The Intruder follows married couple Scott (Michael Ealy) and Annie (Meagan Good) as they buy an old, secluded house in Napa Valley from a widower named Charlie (Dennis Quaid), who seems attached to the memory-filled house in a sad and lonely kind of way. Even long after the sale is made, Charlie just keeps showing up unannounced, doing chores around the house, and acting like the house is still his. Little did they know that this is just the beginning and that Charlie is not going anywhere.
Not exactly new territory here, but may still be promising right? Well, sort of.
The plot is very predictable from the beginning, with the first appearance of Charlie basically revealing what is going to happen for the rest of the film. That makes Annie’s insistence that Charlie is a nice guy and her always letting him into the house when Scott repeatedly told her not to, all the more ridiculous. There is a thin line between naïve and too naïve just so the plot can go on, and it just seems utterly ridiculous.
When it comes to scares, the feature relies on Charlie appearing in places where he shouldn’t be, constantly throughout almost two-thirds of the film. However other than that there is not enough happening to get enough suspense going, especially since the film is supposedly a thriller.
Most of the “thrill” comes in the last 15 minutes, but by then audiences have already been too lulled and know that this is the film’s “final showdown”, that they just want it to end.
The Intruder’s dialogue is lifeless and cliché, and so is its character development; both Annie and Scott seeming too superficial to be plausible. Audiences don’t get to sympathise with them and their pain because they do not seem real.
For the acting, Dennis Quaid was able to become extremely creepy with his performance; however, he was not consistent with it. Quaid would be subtly scary in one scene and weirdly over the top in another, which took away from his performance. Michael Ealy’s performance was mediocre at best and seemed devoid of emotion and plausibility. Meagan Good had more emotion in her performance, but it appeared split into putting on a nice face and then putting on a scared face, and nothing more.
The Intruder is a movie you go to with friends when you guys are bored so that you can scare each other later, but you probably won’t even be able to do that.