‘The Intruder’ is bogged down by conventions, cliches, and utter boredom

Charles Peck (Dennis Quaid) is one of those guys who simply can’t let go.

He sells his historical family estate located next to Napa Valley to a young couple (Michael Ealy and Meegan Goode) looking to start a family, but he finds it hard to leave the house. He mows the lawn, leaves most of his stuff there, and basically lurks around the place after seemingly giving it away.

This is the kind of manly dude who shoots a deer in front of you, then walks up smiling to greet you while saying, “do you like venison?!” He’s old school to the highest degree and possibly dangerous.

What does that mean for the innocent young couple? Bad things, of course.

The Intruder, directed by Deon Taylor, is a by-the-numbers thriller that doesn’t do anything new, except take a lovable actor in Quaid and turn him into a monster. You know he’s bad for business when he’s popping up out of nowhere with pizza, wine, and a spooky vibe that only worries Ealy’s Scott Howard.

Yes, Goode’s accepting wife, Annie, thinks old Charlie is completely fine. “He’s lonely,” she says about ten times. Welcome to the movie where your head will shake so often, whiplash may occur.

David Loughery’s screenplay is campy fun at times, and tiresome cliches during most others. You can guess the next 20 minutes, and know where the film is headed before the innocent lovebirds do. There’s nothing here that you haven’t seen before. It’s all recyclable.

Quaid keeps the film from being a complete waste of time. He throws his weight into Charlie’s menacing sorrow, and makes you believe in this crotchety old soul’s torment. It’s something different than one can find on his IMDB page, and it almost makes up for the lackluster efforts elsewhere. Almost. By the end, you are laughing at his nonsense instead of rooting for the bad guy. He’s pretty far from the earnest guy in The Rookie here.

Ealy and Goode aren’t bad actors, but they aren’t close to good ones either. They also aren’t given much to work with here, and struggle to create anything out of it. Most actors can’t make an old can of vegetable soup desirable.

Everything Taylor does in the director’s chair is either telegraphed or bland to the senses. If I left after handing over ten dollars for this film, I’d be angry. There are better home invasion films out there. Check out Unlawful Entry for one.

Is this movie worth seeing in theaters? No.

Is it worth seeing at all? Possibly on Redbox, after you have flipped through seven screens. Maybe turn it on Cinemax in a few months after the Cardinals game is over.

Confession: I watched this movie after Avengers: Endgame, which isn’t fair. Then again, a nuts and bolts authentic thriller could have been a nice follow-up. Here, it was like leaving a room full of flowers and entering a dog park filled to the brim with excrement.

The Intruder only intrudes on your time and money.


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