STARS: Dennis Quaid, Michael Ealy, Meagan Good
DIRECTOR: Deon Taylor
GENRE: Mystery /Suspense /Horror
You won't know what to make of The Intruder any more than the young couple--Scott and Annie--know what to make of the former owner of the opulent house in the woods they just bought.
Charlie Peck (Dennis Quaid) is having a little trouble "letting go." He's a gun nut and a deer killer who can't get over the sentimental attachment he has to the house he grew up in. Scott (Michael Ealy) and Annie (Meagan Good) are an upwardly mobile African-American couple--he's an executive at a San Francisco ad agency, and she does some writing for magazines. Still, there's nothing to indicate they can afford the 3.3 million price tag of the house. Scott initially balks when he hears that figure, but he soon relents because Annie likes the place so much and he wouldn't want her to pout.
They think Charlie is off to Florida to live with his daughter, but...surprise! He shows up again uninvited to mow the lawn and putter around and continue to kill defenseless animals on their property. You can't get rid of the guy. Scott begins to figure out that Charlie has a screw loose early on, but Annie thinks oh-the-poor-man--he lost his wife (under suspicious circumstances), and his attachment to his longtime home is something he'll get over in time. So she continues to blindly indulge his impromptu visits, even when Scott is away at work.
There's nothing we haven't seen before in The Intruder. It employs all the old tricks of the trade in the mystery/suspense/ horror genre. The characters do things that are so clueless and stupid--and the brunt of that lies with Annie--that you, as an audience member, want to take off your shoe and throw it at the screen! But director Deon Taylor is apparently hoping you'll just enjoy it for what it is, and maybe grin along with the darkly comedic aspect of it-- though we don't know if that part of it is unintentional.
Dennis Quaid is the saving grace of the film. His portrayal of a guy who is right on the edge, and then goes over that edge into a full-blown psychopath is memorable. How crazy is Charlie? He's the second coming of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. There's even a scene that's lifted right out of that horror classic, where Charlie pops his demonically grinning mug through a hole he's carved in the door. You're half expecting his next words to be: HERE'S CHARLIE!
The Intruder is over the top, but it does the one thing that any good suspense thriller is supposed to do, and that's to keep you on the edge of your seat for the duration.
Grade: C +