EVIL’s Fixed on Not Letting Go. “The Intruder” reviewed!


Scott and Annie Russell have it all. Two successful millennials living and working comfortably and successfully in urban San Francisco. There’s just one issue with their life, Annie wants children to raise outside the city. Their house hunting ventures takes them more than an hour outside the city to wine country, Napa Valley, where a serene and beautiful English style cottage rests privately around a nature preserve and becomes the ideal home prospect for Annie. The homeowner, Charlie Peck, seems eager for the married couple to purchase his home that has been in his family for three generations, even knocking down the price and leaving all the furnishings to sweeten the deal. After purchasing the house of Annie’s dreams, Scott makes due with his work in San Francisco, leaving Annie home alone for most of the week, but when Charlie keeps showing up at their doorstep, a frustrated Scott knows something just isn’t normal about the former owner who develops an obsessive fascination with his wife and won’t let go of his beloved home so easily.

From Deon Taylor, the director of “Traffik,” comes the 2019 suspenseful horror-thriller “The Intruder.” Penned by David Loughery, a writer who knows a little something-something about obsession thrillers with his work on “Lakeview Terrace” and “Obsessed,” “The Intruder” becomes a trifecta completing hit of dark compulsions shot actually not in California, but in Vancouver as an alternative in filming in the sacred Napa Valley. What could be said as a concoction of the over-friendly cable guy from “The Cable Guy” mixed thoroughly through a Bullet blender with Ray Liotta’s fixated Officer Peter Davis in “Unlawful Entry” and out pours “The Intruder” with all the creepy niceties of a mania driven illness to a subconsciously dangerous idiosyncrasy set in today’s paradigms for a new generation of thrill seekers.

With a couple of exceptions, “The Intruder’s” cast doesn’t impress, especially with Michael Ealy who shutters a range of intensity and temperament as once showcased as the psychopathic Theo in Fox’s television hit, “The Following.” Ealy, who will be the lead star in the upcoming “Jacob’s Ladder” remake, designates a flat and removed performance for a rather more than ordinary husband with a checkered past with women who are not his wife. Opposite Ealy is “Saw V’s” Meagan Good as a brighter star amongst the relatively small key cast with a tighter grip on the wholesomely ingenuous Annie. Perhaps very similar to herself according to the behind-the-scenes feature accompanying the home video release, Annie’s humble positivity blooms the potential weight effect of Charlie Peck’s devious charisma that explodes to a head when Peck’s good guy mask has been removed. Like many reviews before this one, Dennis Quaid opens incredulous eyes as Charlie Peck. The then 64 year old actor, whose worked with screenwriter Loughery in the 1980’s as the star of “Dreamscape,” flaunts a muscular physique upon an inclusive depth and range of his character that really puts Quaid into a new light. “The Intruder” rounds out with Joseph Sikora (“Jack Reacher”), Alvina August (“Bad Times at the El Royale”), along with minor performances in a handful scenes or less from Erica Cerra (“Blade: Trinity”), Lili Sepe (“It Follows”), Lee Shorten (“In the End”), and “iZombie’s” Kurt Evans.

Getting through the first act without whiplash was nearly a struggle. With hardly any buildup through a speedy introduction of the Russell’s, who are the central focus of this film, one of “The Intruder’s” themes became nearly neutralized. Emotional triggers, the things and events that set us off or make us anxious, make up the very fiber of these characters, so importantly so, that their weaponized to divide and conquer the morality of their being. Annie’s emotionally deteriorating trigger is receiving a working late text from Scott because of his pre-martial affairs, verbally ripping into him when he returns home and reminding the circumstances of his last text of that nature and Scott’s traumatizing trigger stems from his youth when his brother was gunned down so every time he sees a gun, Scott’s visibly agitated and shaken. These coattail effects of these backdrop moments were implemented into the heart of the story, never emphasized initially as a flaw the character would overcome; instead, the triggers are thrown kind of haphazardly into the middle, jostled out indirectly or directly by Charlie Peck, and then revisited for the finale but doesn’t warrant a viewer appreciated response as anticipated. Peck’s trigger, of course, is losing the precious home to a relatively ungrateful couple and his trigger has been present since the start, making Charlie a more well-rounded character, even if an antagonistic one.

Screen Gems, a Sony Pictures sub-label, presents the Hidden Empire Film group production, “The Intruder,” onto DVD home video. The DVD is in an anamorphic widescreen presentation, a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, on MiniHawk Lenses digital camera as noted on IMDB. The aesthetic picture has virtually no issues, as typical digital recorded films go, but was taken aback by the lack of eloquence into cinematographer Daniel Pearl’s work. The man who began his career with “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” turned more toward his forte in the music videos, patterning sleek speedy cars with some warm neon tinting into a delicate, woven tapestry that really should have focused on the cottage itself, as a calm before the storm character in the film, but the interior and partial exterior became the game plan for Pearl. There was a scene or two where thick mist envelops the house that forebodes a menacing factor much needed throughout. The English language Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound has ample qualities and will deliver range and depth as Charlie Peck moves through a creaky old house. Dialogue is clear and welcoming. Bonus features include an alternate ending, which to be honest was about the same, deleted and alternate scenes, a gag reel, cast and crew commentary, an interview style behind-the-scenes featurette. Dennis Quaid was destined for Charlie Peck, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, who shines as an absolute emphasizer on the “The Intruder’s” belaboring shock palette worthy of an effective modern horror-thriller available July 30th. Pre-order your copy below!

Pre-Order “The Intruder”

Horror Short: Happy Halloween

Here’s a little horror short from director Adam Green (“Frozen” (2010), Hatchet) and starring Shawn Ashmore (“Frozen” (2010), ‘The Following’) and Brea Grant (“Halloween II” (2009)). Everything seems normal between a husband and wife chatting over Skype on Halloween night until the truth comes out and a turn for the worst is revealed!

Kevin and the Evil Cult! The Following (Eps 8 review)

About time we have a more passionate episode making us care about characters who have been dormant for too long. Perhaps the anticipation came to the edge of the boiling point and finally spilled over unto the flame. Will this be the turning point for the characters? I hope so – fuck! I’m tired of Ryan Hardy chasing the tail of his nemesis. I’m tired of Weston being a geeky waste of space. I’m tired of Joe Carroll speaking in riddles. In this episode, Ryan gives respect, Weston is strong, and Carroll has ultimate power or mind control however you would like to label it.

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Also, the refreshing part about the episode is how the characters’ roles have reversed. Carroll is out and free with a hoard of acolytes to do anything for him even kill themselves – devotion that is almost non-existant in today’s world unfortunately. Ryan feels constrained by his new boss, Agent “Asshole,” and is stuck within the confines of the law but wants to break free by beating down the captures acolytes.

Of course, I was wrong about who Rodrigo turned out to be with Rodrigo being a man and not the super cute cougar Agent Debra Parker. Rodrigo turns out to be a better character, but a character we have not seen before. However, we can understand where Rodrigo pulls his influence and how Rodrigo became a part of Carroll’s crew. Carroll isn’t the only power house character to have a devotee; Ryan Hardy has Weston who was kidnapped, beaten, and stab to protect a very important secret on the behalf of Hardy. Weston has finally earned Hardy’s long becoming respect.

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I’m certainly looking forward to the next episode to see how the characters unfold and to see who my be the next surprised acolyte, but I have a hunch, and I’ll probably be wrong again like I was with Rodrigo, that there might be a friend within the Carroll following. Stay tuned.

Kevin Bacon and the Evil Cult! The Following (Eps. 7 review)

Joe Carroll is out! The killer has made his dramatic escape by using his scared to death prey. Ryan Hardy can’t keep up with Carroll and his following, always being one, sometimes to one, behind. Unlike the previous episode, episode seven omits the twists and turns; instead, the focus on death, escape, and incarceration – and not just by Carroll.

We’re exposed to more of Carroll’s connections who, like him, are deeply disturbed and very calm about their whole mentally distraught situation. We’re also discovering that each follower has a specific skill set – Charlie expert in covert recon or Linda who can slice you up without you even knowing – and each have this part to play as I mentioned before in previous reviews.

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I expect that the next episode will contain more chaos under uncontrolled circumstances. Now with Carroll out of the federal prison system, he’ll wreak more havoc and sure put Hardy in the hot seat. The next episode seems to have the followers and Carroll put the FBI in their sights. Will one of the main characters bite it? We’ll see!

Kevin Bacon and the Evil Cult! The Following (Eps. 6 review)

Got around finally to watching the sixth episode of Kevin Williamson’s The Following last night on On Demand and we’re back to ground zero with how The Following should play out as a suspenseful horror thriller with numerous twists, baffling betrayals, and many hooks to keep the audience intrigued and drooling until next Monday. Ryan Hardy, when back into a corner, transforms into possum as his curls his lip revealing his vicious teeth – a side of Hardy we have yet to experience.

Paul: “Tie him up!”
Ryan: Yes, tie me up, but if you get within two feet of me I will break your neck and crack your spine.”
Paul: “Then I will shoot you!”
Ryan: “And his neck will be broken and his spine will be cracked.”
Paul: “And you’ll be dead!”
Ryan: “And his neck will be broken and his spine will be cracked.”

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This episode drives in the last nail making certain that we, the audience, can’t trust a single soul – who is in this cult and/or who will betray who within a group – and that distrust amongst the factions will keep life in this show. Also, the mysterious Rodrigo who orchestrates behind the scenes has me starting to wonder that we may know already who this person is and that the other cult followers perhaps don’t know as Charlie, Claire’s ‘follower,’ had stated in his own words that each member of Carroll’s crew doesn’t know who each other and that their roles were specific. If I had to take a wild guess, Rodrigo is Agent Debra Parker and this episodes leave a little taste of my hypothesis. However, my theory could be dead wrong which is hard to believe, I know.

Our killer threesome has for now disbanded into a massive betrayal by Emma’s character as she leaves her two male companions to fend for themselves against the closing in FBI. What’s Emma’s plan with Joey? Most likely her specific role is to be the protector of Joey as she displayed in the later half of the episode as a human bullet shield. Rodrigo had likely instructed Emma to escape from Paul and Jacob while friends of Rodrigo infiltrate and kill a couple of the FBI Swat team and extract Paul and Jacob from the clutches of the FBI.

Lots going on and the next episode shapes up to be thrilling as well. Let’s all hope.