Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
Andrew and Lila are on vacation. Andrew always loved his family estate, and Lila - fresh from a yearlong stay in an asylum - is not quite ready for the bustle of New York City. The weekend begins promisingly with a scenic drive from the city and a romantic evening alone. After an unexpected detour the couple's once brilliant future seems back on track. That is until they wake one morning to find the mangled work of a deranged mind literally nailed to their front door. Soon, on a stormy Halloween in the middle of nowhere, a psychopath working under the cloak of darkness begins a sadistic game of cat and mouse with Andrew, Lila, and anyone else unfortunate enough to cross his path.
Is it good movie?
I hate to say I judge a book by its cover, but we all do it to a certain extent. It doesn't mean that my final judgment is always the same as my initial one, but when I see a movie that looks low budget and features some monster or freak taking people out one by one, I usually cringe and assume I'm in for a long hour and a half of a poor man's Halloween.
This is a particular time where I can stand happily corrected and be quite content knowing that this movie was great! The first thing that needs to be mentioned is that although the plot is a bit hackneyed, it all works. The director brilliantly injects a lot of style and substance into the mentally ill Lila's state of mind and actually makes it work for the movie rather than having it as a silly gimmick. Christena Doggrell turns in a great performance and really endears herself to the psychological motif of the film. You'll likely be right there with Lila and you'll cringe when she relapses into some pretty self destructive behavior.
This one isn't really gory but there's some pretty gross look-away violence to be seen here and it will keep you going. The real hook here is the story, which is paced fantastically and throws all kinds of things at you that you won't expect. Now that doesn't mean that all is perfect because what few effects are included are pretty poor but that only shows smart filmmaking by not trying to showcase them all the time. The whole thing plays like a murder mystery but the ending will likely be a twist that you'll take or leave altogether.
Really though, this movie deserves a look because it's a low budget slasher that isn't insulting, isn't stupid and isn't completely predictable. The cast is strong, the suspense is the main selling point and is almost like a slasher for someone with a brain in their head. I will once again state that I expected the worst and really got a pleasant surprise. This is the completely opposite of most awful indie horror flicks I watch from time to time.
Video / Audio
The DVD does not have any listed audio or video specs.
There are two commentary tracks, one with director Greg Caiafa and actress Christena Dogrell which was really well done and fun to listen to. The director only commentary is really much more detailed and a film-school analysis of the movie that was far more technical. I couldn't really get through the whole thing.
You get about 15 minutes of deleted scenes which are understandably deleted. They provide a bit of decent context but ultimately would have dragged the film out a bit. A couple of them aren't acted very well, either. director's Commentary is optional here.
There's also a brief blooper reel which got a chuckle or two out of me and a trailer.
Intruder is a very welcome addition to the independent horror scene. It manages to take the high road and makes a slasher movie about a killer in a clown mask scary and intellectual (!). Although it's not perfect and the budget is less than zero, if you're into indie stuff and like to take your horror pretty seriously I highly recommend it.