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Tuesday, May 07, 2019

The Intruder

The Intruder is a flaccid thriller that tells the story of two of the dumbest people I have seen in the movies in a long time who buy a house from an obvious psychopath, and then seem surprised that the guy turns out to be, yes, a psychopath who has a an unhealthy obsession with his massive and secluded home.  This is a movie where it's almost essential that the audience scream at the characters up on the screen, because they keep on intentionally doing the wrong thing over and over.

The psycho in this movie is Charlie, and he's played by Dennis Quaid.  Now, Quaid is an immensely likable actor, and he is completely miscast here playing a guy who is not below committing ax murder, and attempting to rape the wife of the main hero multiple times during the film's climax.  He tries to unnerve us with his performance by narrowing his eyes, and wearing a phony, toothy grin.  He wears that forced grin on his face so much, it almost looks like he's auditioning to play The Joker.  His evil intentions are evident almost from the second he walks on the screen, and welcomes the young couple who are interested in buying his luxurious home, which he has spent over 20 years building and maintaining.  Charlie claims to be a widower, and says his wife died of cancer.  But the people in the small town (who act like some kind of Greek Chorus) know that Charlie has more than a few demons, and say that his wife died from a shotgun blast.  Apparently a suicide.

The young couple who come to buy Charlie's beloved home are Scott (Michael Ealy) and Annie Howard (Meagan Good).  They live in San Francisco at the start of the film, but after Scott gets a big boost at his job at an advertising agency, they decide to look for a house in the country so they can start a family.  The house they want to buy is in Napa Valley, which Scott is going to commute from to his job back in San Francisco.  For those of you who have done their homework, Napa Valley is over 90 minutes away from Scott's job.  I guess Scott doesn't mind the long round trip drive every day, because he buys the house, and they start fixing it up to their liking.  Charlie hands them the keys to their new home, tells them to take good care of it, and says he's going off to Florida to live with his adult daughter.

Only, Charlie never leaves.  He shows up to mow the yard shortly after Scott and Annie move in.  He also doesn't seem to approve with some of the changes they have made to the house, such as replacing the old tapestry that used to hang on the wall in his home with a modern art painting.  And yet, Annie sees nothing bizarre or wrong about Charlie.  In fact, she invites the guy over for Thanksgiving dinner.  Charlie also frequently shows up at the property waving his shotgun around (hunting deer, he says), and Annie doesn't seem the least bit intimidated or unnerved by his bizarre and frequently erratic behavior.  Ladies and gentlemen, I am willing to suspend disbelief at the movies, I truly am.  But Annie is staggeringly stupid to the point that it defies all logic.  She keeps on inviting this obviously dangerous man into her home over and over, and ignores the lecherous and leering looks he gives her.

There is a scene in the movie where Scott takes Annie to the room where Charlie's wife was killed with a shotgun, and there appears to be a faded yet still visible bloodstain on the wall of the room.  I repeat, Charlie's wife has been dead for two years now, and the blood from the apparent suicide was never cleaned off the wall of the room.  I guess they missed that when they were being given the tour of the house.  Annie takes one look at the faded bloodstain, and thinks it's just part of the wallpaper.  Will somebody please slap some sense into this woman?  Despite all the warnings, and despite the mysterious disappearance of Scott's best friend after he starts snooping around and investigating Charlie's background, she still thinks Charlie is just lonely, and even invites him over to decorate the house for Christmas.  Watching the movie, you get the sense that Annie is the sort of person who walks into traffic a lot.

Time and time again, the characters in The Intruder are forced to act like oblivious morons in order for there to even be a movie in the first place.  I would say a good idea for a parody of this film would be to have the answers staring the characters in the face, and they just keep on ignoring them.  However, that's exactly how this supposedly-serious thriller plays out.  Speaking of which, calling this a "thriller" is generous, as the movie in no way creates any tension in any way, shape or form.  What it does do, however, is earn a place on the Wall of Shame over at the MPAA, who have rated the film PG-13, despite the fact it contains multiple murders, and a subplot about how Charlie essentially wants to rape Annie, and attempts to do so numerous times.  But hey, there's little to no blood on display, so it's okay!

From the first frame to the very last shot, The Intruder has been sloppily thrown together with little care.  This is one of those movies where you just have to ask if anyone was even trying.  I especially have to ask if Meagan Good actually thought that the role of Annie was a character worth pursuing, and if she thought it would be good for her career.  Everyone who signed up to be a part of this needs to have a long, sad talk with their agent.

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