October 14, 2014

Movie Review: Intruder (1989)

Every movie fans has lists of movies. There are lists for movies they love, movies the hate, movies they love but don't want anyone else to know about, favorite horror movies, favorite comedies, you name it, they have (or can have at a moments notice) a list for it. The most basic of these lists are the movies they have seen and the movies they haven't seen. The movies on the not seen list can be there for any number of reasons and likely run the gamut from all-time classics to obscurities you heard mention of in some long forgotten conversation, some are just titles you see on a shelf and just shove to the side. Intruder is one of those shoved to the side movies. It has also now migrated to the movies I've seen list.

Intruder is one of those movies that somewhat intrigued me, mainly based on the cast, but it is not one I ever heard that much talk about. It was part of Charles Band's Full Moon spread, sitting amidst the various Puppet Master flicks and other random puppet-based terror-on-a-budget. Yes, the name Bruce Campbell caught my eye, but the lack of discussion of said title made me wary, so I just went on to other stuff. Every once in awhile, the movie would pop back on the radar, but it never made much impact. Until now. I have watched the movie, and I have to wonder why I do not hear much chatter amongst the horror community on this one? I will not act like I have uncovered some hidden gem, that is ridiculous, but for me, personally, I have uncovered a gem.

The movie was the debut feature by Scott Spiegel, who to that point had directed a few shorts and was likely best known for co-writing Evil Dead II with his friend, Sam Raimi. Supposedly, this film was originally slated to be helmed by Tobe Hooper. I wonder what that would have been like. Spiegel also write the screenplay based on a story he co-wrote with Lawrence Bender, who would go on to be a producer on films like Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. Spiegel really delivered the goods on a budget.

Intruder is a low budget slasher from that delivers the goods. It is fun, funny, gory, scary, and all the good things that the best of the genre have to offer. It is nothing original, but it does everything just right making a movie that is a whole lot of fun. Plus, it has some great effects from Greg Nicotero, Howard Berger, and Robert Kurtzman. You may have heard of their company, KNB. Legends have to start somewhere, right? This was one of their earlier outings.

The tale tells of a night crew at a local grocery store. As they are getting ready to close, one of the girl's gets a visit from an ex-boyfriend and it does not go well. The meeting leads to a fight and a chase around the store before they are able to kick him out. Shortly thereafter, weird things begin happening around the store. The crew are stocking shelves, pricing product, and doing what teens do, then they start dying. One by one, they are picked off in delightfully bloody ways. Who is the killer? Can he be stopped? I'm not telling!

There really isn't a lot to tell, plotwise. This is a simple movie that does its thing, gets nasty, and gets out. It is funny to see a movie with Sam Raimi on camera instead of just seeing his name and knowing he is behind the camera. Sometimes, when it comes to formula horror that works, it is hard to put a finger on why. So many do the same thing, so why do some work and some don't? It is not easy to figure out, exactly. With Intruder you have a simple story, a director who does plenty of interesting things with the camera, and some great gore sequences. Oh, and that great ending!

Intruder is an absolute winner. Just press play and watch. This is a mix of elements that have simmered together to perfection. I am disappointed no one pointed me firmly in this direction earlier, this really is a solid slasher. I would go so far as to say it is under seen and under-appreciated. If I haven't seen it before now, I wonder how many others are going through life like me?

Highly Recommended.

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