Written by Jason Juravic / Directed by Adam Massey / Starring Miranda Cosgrove, Donal Logue & Tom Sizemore
Jerry Halshford: A change of scenery is a good thing.
Rose Halshford: Not always.
Adam Massey’s THE INTRUDERS is a rather unfortunate use of an hour and a half, not to mention Donal Logue’s talent.
Stanford student Rose Halshford (Miranda Cosgrove, SCHOOL OF ROCK, DESPICABLE ME) is taking a bit of a break from her studies following the tragic death of her mother. Her workaholic father Jerry (Logue, Gotham) has relocated them to a new house and neighbourhood, hoping that the change in scenery will provide a fresh start for them both.
But soon Rose begins to realize that not all is right in her new home, which seems to have more than its fair share of creaks and groans. And while a noisy floorboard can be rationalized away, a creepy doll’s head that randomly appears and disappears cannot. To all appearances, the house is haunted.
Then there are her odd neighbours, Leila (Jenessa Grant, Reign), who’s about Rose’s age, and her father Howard (Tom Sizemore, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN), who clearly know more about the neighbourhood than they’re willing to share.
As Rose begins to delve deeper into the history of her address – and make friends with the local cutie, played by Austin Butler (The Carrie Diaries) – she discovers a dark past to the house that she suspects is having an effect on its present inhabitants. Complicating matters is the fact that her father, who spends all his time at work to escape his own grief, does not believe her and Rose is forced to solve the puzzle and appease whatever evil exists on her own.
It’s nowhere near an original plot (a little bit of REAR WINDOW meets a touch of PSYCHO; someone’s clearly a Hitchcock fan), but that’s not the film’s biggest problem.
Its biggest problem is that it takes that unoriginal plot and does absolutely nothing to give it a fresh appeal. Or any appeal, for that matter.
THE INTRUDERS kicks off with an opening scene that’s both creepy and intriguing enough to make one hope for a half-decent thriller. And as the early scenes crawl by, the glimmer of a truly suspenseful plot starts to pique audience interest.
But that’s about as far as it goes. It doesn’t take long before one too many “girl-at-home-alone-hears-creepy-noises” moments have you writing the entire experience off as just another series of clichés to endure. And at too many moments, the writing is simply awful. The characters are not well drawn and therefore not interesting in the least. While the plan was clearly to create them as “ambiguous”, the end result is that they’re just plain annoying.
Neither does it help that, not too far in, the film starts to feel like a showcase for Cosgrove and what she can do as a child star all grown up into a pretty 20-something. And for those viewers content to spend 90 minutes assessing her newfound talent as a serious dramatic actor, the movie will work. But just make sure you can appreciate her maturity while tolerating the immature plot and script she’s been given.
The bottom line is that THE INTRUDERS might show a bit of promise in its initial moments, but a terribly slow pace and shoddy writing quickly unravel that hope into an overdrawn yawn.