Wednesday, January 13, 2016




Anna suffers from agoraphobia so crippling that when a trio of criminals break into her house, she cannot bring herself to flee. But what the intruders don't realize is that agoraphobia is not her only psychosis.

Language: English
Classification: 18
Release Date: 14 January 2016
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Running Time: 91 mins
Cast: Rory Culkin, Leticia Jimenez, Jack Kesy
Director: Adam Schindler

From IMDB:

 Ratings: 5.5/10 from 182 users
Reviews: 1 user | 20 critic

Imagine not being able to walk out your door no matter how hard you try. 

A film produced by the same people that did Paranormal Activity and Insidious...

So the producing team that brought us the pretty good Insidious (2010) and started the string of 'found footage' horror that is Paranormal Activity has brought us a home intrusion turned revenge film. Well, it's not just a story about that, there's a little bit more. And just as the film is a little more than just a homeowner turning the tables on her intruders to say that this movie was from the executive producer of Insidious and Paranormal Activity isn't telling the whole truth. The only producer involved in this film from those other two mentioned on the poster is Steven Schneider and he was executive producer for only Paranormal Activity not Insidious and he's only one of twelve producers involved in making this movie. Why do you need twelve producers for a movie like this that's shot on one location and only involves a house and a bunch of sets I don't know. Complicated this movie isn't.

So as mentioned above the story is about Anna (Beth Riesgraf) who suffers from agoraphobia which prevents her from leaving the house. Things get even worse when her brother Connie (Timothy T. McKinney) passes away from pancreatic cancer while under her care at home. Her condition is so severe that she won't even leave the house even for her brother's funeral. Meanwhile throughout her shut-in situation and her home care of her brother she receives meals from a delivery service and those meals are delivered, along with amusing comments of the days menu, by Dan (Rory Culkin) whom she's never talked much to let alone let him in the house. Until the day after her brother dies when she invites him in for a little company and an awkward conversation. She also offers him a paper bag full of money which he refuses.

The awkward young man who brings your meal also turns out to be the reason why you're about to be visited by thugs. 

Anyway, the day of her brother's funeral, despite the pleads by her brother's attorney Charlotte (Leticia Jimenez) to come, she finds herself in the company of a couple of hoodlums who have of course come to rob the house thinking that they'd be no one at home. But what was supposed to be an easy case of breaking and entering and a quick ransacking of the house for cash and valuables soon turn into a hostage situation which then of course turns into a case of self defense then revenge with a twist. At the end all the burglars end up dead one way or another.

There's little buzz about this movie which was originally titled Shut In and was premiered mid last year at a few festivals. Since then it's gotten a name change and an official release date for the US on January 15th of this year. There's a bunch of review on its IMDB page and it has a rating of 5.5/10, while on its Rotten Tomatoes page there's still no ratings but 88% of the folks on Rotten Tomatoes say they want to see it. With a cast of relative unknowns, unless you watch a lot of movies and tv shows at which point you'll think to yourself "I've seen that person somewhere before", this movie isn't banging on the big name draw unlike the film The Forest which is probably relying on fans of Natalie Dormer to make up a percentage of the audience. That being said this movie will have to rely on its own merits, right?

It's amazing to me how the bad guys can never hear footsteps sometimes. 

Intruders finds itself in the same category of films like I Spit On Your Grave (1978) which I believe is the originator of the category. I don't think there were any other films prior to it that had a female character who was minding her own business until a bunch of thugs decide to make her life miserable only to find later that she isn't so frail and helpless. What this movie does is takes that storyline and throws in a little basement to trap her intruders, a twisted backstory as to why she has her phobia and as she traps her home invaders the twisted reason why she traps one of them in a special room. The only ghosts in this story from the producer that help started off a couple of successful horror franchises is in Anna's past.

So let's begin with the story. An agoraphobic with a twisted past who gets visited by some thugs. Not exactly original but the twist is. The twist being her and her brothers past. However even with the twist the story unfolds at a somewhat leisurely pace and there's little build-up of tension. I was actually a little bored. The thrilling scenes weren't as thrilling and the build up to those scenes were pretty predictable. There's only so many things you can do in a house and only so many places. Which towards the end you realize the gaping plot hole which is explained away as being due to shock. The twist does bring something new to an otherwise straight forward story but it really doesn't bring much to the story or do much for it either.

And then you find out the agoraphobic lady has a secret basement.

The cast although mostly aren't well known, except for Rory Culkin of course, does a decent job. Beth Riesgraf who plays the lead does a pretty good job of going from frail and frightened to cold and twisted. Rory Culkin pretty much plays to his strength as an awkward young man caught in an unexpected and unusual situation. The thugs are as you'd expect there's one in charge, there's the slightly crazy one and then there's the reluctant one.

The camera work is as expected for the genre lots of tight scenes to show expressions and to hide what's coming or to focus on it. Music is there but hardly noticeable. It also doesn't help the scenes much.

I mean look at her. 

All in all Intruders attempts to bring something interesting to the genre by having it's lead suffer from agoraphobia but instead of using that to make the story interesting the writers have decided to fallback on the reason for the agoraphobia to make the story interesting. That for me felt a little disingenuous. It would have been far more interesting I believe to have Anna try to overcome her agoraphobia or for her to use her familiarity with her own home in defeating her aggressors. Instead we find out her agoraphobia is due to a trauma from her past and that her twisted ways are due to the twisted things  twisted brother used to do to help her cope with that trauma. The twist could have been played out in a more interesting way too but the direction that this film takes it was a little too predictable for me.

Intruders could have been an interesting watch but it wasn't for me. I found myself yawning quite a bit. For fans of the genre maybe they'd be a little more forgiving and probably would find this interesting. To me it felt like an special HBO movie. For those looking to see lots of blood or violence in this film there really isn't much of it to be found. It's more of the hide and seek sort of thrill which later turns into a psychological thing when Anna has the upper hand.

I'm going to give this film a 1.8 out of 5. Was mildly entertaining but ultimately suffered from predictability, pacing and lack of thrills.

Here's the trailer.



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