Review: Intruders, home invasion with a twist

The basic home invasion storyline—strangers terrorizing a family in their home—has been popping up in the film world for quite some time, but only recently has the subgenre really been thinking outside of the box. Adam Schindler’s Intruders does exactly that, a movie that takes the setup of a home invasion thriller and turns it on its head. In it, after three criminals break into a supposedly empty house, they find themselves in a deadly game of cat and mouse with the occupant, Anna, a shy young woman with a dark secret.

One familiar quality that almost every home invasion film shares is that almost the entirety of their stories are told within the walls of a home, a location that really digs under the skin because it’s the place we all feel safest. And that’s no different with Intruders, which tells its entire story—beginning to end—inside Anna’s home. But the familiarities end as soon as a few criminals show up to rob Anna on the day of her brother’s funeral, a day in which no one was supposed to be home. And that’s where the film takes a staggering turn.

What these guys didn’t realize was that Anna suffers from agoraphobia and hasn’t left the house in years, which really screws up their plans of making a clean getaway. Worse yet is that she is not at all what she seems—there’s a dark secret buried behind those innocent eyes, a secret that these guys find out in the worse way imaginable—in a basement with no way out. And although the twist is clearly given away in the trailer (on purpose), it’s the manner in which we get there that’s surprising. And it’s not so much that Anna has a dark side to her that catches us off guard, it’s the reason behind the madness that’s truly upsetting. That’s where the big reveal is, and the film absolutely nails it.

What I really liked about the movie is how quickly it goes from familiar territory to something very original and wickedly disturbing. It becomes this nasty little cat and mouse thriller, one where the victim becomes the monster and these criminals come face to face with horror. And it’s interesting how much Anna changes within that time frame, too, because she goes from being a very lonely, lost girl dealing with the death of her brother to this disturbing presence looking for revenge.

And there’s this very dramatic line being drawn between the characters—you have these scumbag criminals, locked in a basement, now trying to survive an inescapable nightmare. And Anna, once quiet and shy, is now the one dealing the pain. And while there is an understandable reason behind her madness—something the film digs up towards the end—there’s no doubting that she has a real evil lurking inside her. And it’s because of this that I think film struggles to find a character for us to really latch onto; they’re all full of rage and murder, giving it a uniquely vicious quality to the story.

But there’s enough twists and turns throughout the narrative to keep Intruders one step ahead, unraveling a story of pain and death that a few deserving criminals find out in the basement of a madwoman. The performances were all around phenomenal, the script is tight and to the point, and the villainess is one to remember.


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