When a young, successful couple, Scott and Annie, (played by Michael Ealy and Meagan Good) decide to buy a beautiful house in California’s scenic Napa Valley they get more than they pay for. Way more, as the house they purchase has a widowed owner who refuses to let go. That owner is Charlie Peck played by Dennis Quaid. Taking a break from talking dog movies Quaid comes to flex some serious acting muscles. He smiles and compliments the new homeowners and in a second we see his embarrassed rage as they tell him to leave him alone and no he cannot join them for Christmas dinner.
There is nothing unique or genuine about this movie and it's frustrating. No one is particularly bad (except the guy who plays Mike, he was awful), the script just suffers from having nothing to say. That stated, I respect The Intruder for having diversity in its cast and crew and when I thought the crimes in this movie might have racial motivation behind them, it didn't, so that was a pleasant surprise.
The issue isn’t with the performances; Quaid, doesn't do a bad job, I like him as a smiling psychopath about to fall apart at the seams. And Ealy and Good aren’t bad either, despite their blandness. The real perpetrator is authenticity. This movie feels painfully generic, it's a by the numbers home invasion movie with zero personality or brains. This movie is a lot like a manufactured home, sure it’s better than a hotel or being homeless but it doesn't have that lived in charm or personality. Funny being as though this movie takes place in very much lived in home, but even that looks like a set piece.
There’s a part in this movie where Scott has to go to the ER and Annie is left at home alone. In a nice little gesture Charlie brings her an “Everything Pizza.” I didn’t even know an everything pizza existed, I’ve heard of the everything bagel but not an everything pizza, he hands it to her with a big dopey grin and says, “pick off what you don’t like.” This stuff just doesn't make a lot of sense. It’s just bad writing. And it was written by the dude who did Lakeview Terrace which I never saw but I doubt Samuel L Jackson was driving around in his cop car giving motherfuckers “Everything Pizzas.”
The horror aspect of this movie somehow fails completely. It uses a ridiculous amount of reveal shots to show us where Charlie is. Some headlights show Charlie hiding in the bushes, someone closes a medicine cabinet with a mirror to reveal Charlie hiding in the tub, someone moves a lamp and out of the window see Charlie looking in the house; I swear we were one shot from them turning on the outside light to see Charlie in the trash cans eating leftover “everything pizza.” There is such a good idea here, it’s an uncomfortable situation we’ve all been in, how do you get your smiling guest to leave? How do you get someone you don't want to see or talk to, to stop seeing you and talking to you? It’s awkward, it's uncomfortable it makes you feel icy and weird. Somehow, they completely drop the ball here.
Katie Walsh of the Los Angeles Times called this movie “a reverse ‘Get Out.’” I don’t even know what the fuck that means, the white people are bad in both movies, so I am failing to see the connection. In Get Out, the main characters are trying to leave a house, and in The Intruder, they’re trying to get Dennis Quaid out of the house, so...what? Thanks a lot for that brilliant insight Katie Walsh.
Despite everything I said here, this movie should still be seen, and don’t do it sober. Invite your friends, get some booze and some sody-pops and an everything pizza and kick back and watch DQ lose his shit.