Synopsis – A woman moves to a small town with her husband, but is rattled when she is targeted for a home invasion.
My Take – I think we all can concur that even an imaginable scenario about strangers breaking into your home, where one is supposed to feel comfortably safe and secure, is bound to give nightmares or at least leave one in a state of anxiousness. Hence, it is not surprising, considering the amount of cluster shock and thrill at disposal, filmmakers aim to cash in on their versions of the recreations in the name of entertainment.
But while some films like Straw Dogs (1971), Panic Room (2002), The Strangers (2008), to name a few, have found deserving success, mainly due to the handling of their material, the sub-genre continues to fill up with mildly watchable run-of-the-mill entries, with this latest Netflix thriller just adding on to the pile.
Even from its title, it’s easy to guess what the film will be about, and director Adam Salky (I Smile Back, Dare) and writer Christopher Sparling (Greenland, Down a Dark Hall) don’t expand much beyond the familiar fright found within its familiar confines. Though it’s backed by solid performances from Frieda Pinto and Logan Marshall-Green, the film’s structure doesn’t break new ground and is filled with enough scares to keep you from falling asleep.
Something that doesn’t make it less unpleasant or less effective, but decidedly less enjoyable than it might have been otherwise. Running at 92 minutes, the film doesn’t outstay its welcome, but it certainly wanders down avenues it could’ve easily avoided from becoming just another forgettable Netflix thriller.
The story follows Meera (Freida Pinto), a youth counselor and cancer survivor, who along with her architect husband, Henry (Logan Marshall-Green), moves into an isolated, ultra-modern house, which he built, to get away from the rush of the city. While Meera is continuously worried that her cancer may be returning, their peaceful settling in is unceremoniously disturbed when their house is broken into.
Though Henry is able to subdue the perpetrators using a hidden gun he owns, killing two and leaving a third in the ICU, Meera’s thought process goes into hyper drive when Detective Stephen Morse (Robert John Burke) informs them that all the assailants are related and are suspects in the disappearance of a teenage girl, Christine Cobb (Megan Elisabeth Kelly), also from the same family. But as the investigation continues to unfold, Meera begins to suspect that Henry probably knows more than he is telling about their home invasion.
While the film is built on a decent enough premise, that a seemingly idyllic marriage is revealed to be built on a compounding mountain of secrets and lies, it never gives itself the breadth to establish any doubt or plausible alternatives as to who might be responsible. The vibe with the film is that the audience should always be on the edge of their seats and not fully aware of what will happen next. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always do that.
It’s predictable, and nothing of what develops on-screen is shocking. As everything Henry says sounds like a false alibi and his reaction to making Meera feel safe after the criminality is to install app-controlled locks and smartphone tracking software isn’t particularly convincing.
Even Henry’s past destinations are programmed into his SUV dashboard allowing Meera to drive and move around a trailer park searching for clues about what he’s up to, and finding a couple, along with some crass stereotypes about the kind of people who live in trailer parks. Along the way, a series of frustrating contrivances, most notably involving a damaged video camera, exist solely to delay the revelation of vital information.
That’s not to blame Freida Pinto for her bargain-bin character’s shortcomings or the stale production’s unenthusiastic approach to physical and emotional abuse, it’s just the entire experience remains so unfazed by its own alarming actions. Despite that both Pinto and Logan Marshall-Green deliver good performances.
Marshall-Green‘s performance as the husband with a dark secret has a crackling, tightly controlled intensity that is far more nuanced and persuasive than anything else in the film. In smaller roles, Robert John Burke, Mark Sivertsen, Clint Obenchain and Megan Elisabeth Kelly are alright. On the whole, ‘Intrusion’ is a woefully predictable home invasion thriller that needed a sharper script to sustain its intriguing premise.
Directed – Adam Salky
Rated – 92 minutes
Run Time – TV14