Intruder | Louise Linton, John Robinson, Zach Myers, Aaron Trainor, Ire Wardlaw, Moby | Writer & Director: Travis Zariwny
Under the perpetually gloomy setting of Portland, Oregon, a promising cellist is unknowingly threatened by a stealthy figure who, for all accounts and purposes, has nothing better to do other than rearrange her knick knacks and eat her groceries. Intruder, written and directed by Travis Zariwny, is a thriller that provides little chills and plenty of head scratching.
We enter the life of Elizabeth (Louise Linton) who is on the verge of making a life-altering decision about her music career. Between the support of her family, the indifference of her kinda sorta boyfriend Justin (Zach Myers) and her unnervingly creepy conductor Vincent (played by Moby?!?! say whaaa!), Liz strives for solace amidst a seemingly endless downpour. Zariwny is able to use the bleak, torrential atmosphere to his advantage, creating a claustrophobic element within Elizabeth’s humble apartment. Although she freely moves about to conduct her everyday tasks, the lingering presence Elizabeth feels on occasion slowly changes her humble abode into a private prison.
Though Elizabeth is supremely preoccupied with the choice that racks her mind day and night, she remains aware of the awfully suspicious looking men that occupy her neighborhood. Each of the men are introduced as mistrusting, skulking loners with mile-long stares and absolutely no tact when it comes to invading someone’s private space. Though Zariwny is attempting to shake up the expectations of the viewer with red herrings and copious amounts of chicanery, the identity of the killer isn’t that important as there is little to no development or reasoning for his motivations in terrorizing Elizabeth. In fact, there’s scant character building for our tedious lead. By “scant” I mean zero.
Where Intruder truly falters is in the disjointed effort ramping up the tension rather than allowing it to grow organically. Far too many scenes are prolonged to the point of weariness. There are only so many close-ups one can take of the cat Elizabeth is sitting, and long shots of closet doors where her stalker readies himself. Then again, there’s absolutely nothing else that can be gained from the film as 99 percent of it takes place in Elizabeth’s apartment. One would assume that if a person was covering your every move, adjusting your furniture, placing flowers in your kitchen, and straight up murdering people in your bedroom, you’d sense something was pretty damn amiss. On more than one occasion, her intruder caresses and kisses her face while she slept and it resulted in nary a stirring. NOT EVEN A SINGLE GROAN. Scenes like that, which are peppered throughout the film, completely blow any sliver of realism out of the water and make Intruder all the more taxing an experience.
In summation, Intruder is a film that somehow made itself deliberately unwatchable with an aimless plot, over emotive cat, underwhelming performances and unceasing use of well-tread horror tropes. To be fair, the premise is solid and the vision its director had could be seen in faint glimmers. Sadly, there is nothing inventive or exciting about this flick. Intruder’s flat, nearly nonexistent narrative and complete lack of sympathy for the distressed victim would leave any cinephile feeling dismayed in witnessing this creative exercise in futility.
Intruder – produced by Stormchaser Film and distributed by IFC Midnight – will premiere at the IFC Center in New York City, the Laemmle Monica Film Center in Santa Monica, California, On Demand and all digital platforms June 24.
Intruder = 3.7/10