'Intruders': Film Review

Courtesy of Momentum Pictures
The initially clever twists are undermined by a formulaic approach.
1/15/2016

A woman suffering from agoraphobia can't leave her home after it's invaded by robbers in Adam Schindler's thriller.

What at first appears to be a standard home invasion thriller is transformed into something more complex, if ultimately not much more rewarding, in Adam Schindler's directorial debut. The story of an agoraphobe who can't escape her home when it's broken into by three men intent on robbery, Intruders at least offers an intriguing twist or two.

Anna (Beth Riesgraf) finds herself alone in her large home after her beloved brother Conrad (Timothy T. McKinney) dies from a long bout with cancer. Her only human contact is with her brother's lawyer (Leticia Jimenez), who only visits to complete some paperwork, and a cheerful meal deliveryman (Rory Culkin) with whom she's formed a friendly bond.

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On the day of her brother's funeral, a trio of intruders (Joshua Mikel, Martin Starr, Jack Kesy) break in, assuming that the house is empty, to look for the large cache of cash rumored to be there. At first rudely surprised and then amused when they discover that Beth is not only present but also suffering from a psychological condition that prevents her from escaping even through an open door, they threaten to kill her if she doesn't tell them where the money is hidden.

But the initially terrified Beth turns out to be far from what she seems, and the same goes for her home. During the ensuing ultra-violent cat-and-mouse, she reveals surprising resources, utilizing the house — which comes to resemble a demonic theme-park attraction — to turn the tables on her tormentors.

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While the screenplay by T.J. Cimfel and David White eventually proves unsatisfying in its plot revelations, the film certainly holds your attention thanks to Schindler's tautly paced direction and Riegraf's emotionally nuanced performance. The violence is more bloodily graphic than it needs to be, with the result that Intruders (screened at festivals under the more evocative title Shut In) feels more like a familiar exploitation item than the sophisticated thriller it might have been.

Production: Black Fish Films, Campbell Grobman Films, Jeff Rice Films, Vicarious Entertainment
Distributor: Momentum Pictures
Cast: Beth Riesgraf, Martin Starr, Joshua Mikel, Timothy McKinney, Jack Kesy, Rory Culkin, Leticia Jimenez
Director: Adam Schindler
Screenwriters: T.J. Cimfel, David White
Producers: Lati Grobman, Erik Olsen, Jeff Rice, Steven Schneider
Executive producers: Christa Campbell, Matthew Lamothe, Brian Netto, Robert Van Norden, Tommy Vlahopoulos
Director of photography: Eric Leach
Production designer: James Wiley Fowler
Editors: Brian Netto, Adam Schindler
Costume designer: Gayle Merendino
Composer: Frederik Wiedmann
Casting: Shannon Makhanian

Not rated, 90 minutes

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