Intruder

Dir: Scott Spiegel, 1989. Starring: Elizabeth Cox, Renée Estevez, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, Eugene Robert Glazer. Horror.
Intruder

Could you imagine what it would be like to finish an exhausting shift at a retail job, only to find upon closing that there is a killer who wants to use the abundance of box cutters and deli knives to expose your innards? Well, that's where this slasher movie begins, and that is just the beginning of its craftiness. Slasher films are usually really good about having slaughter come in the most inopportune times: swimming, camping, love making, eating and so forth. I think this adds that special tension that comes along with horror films—the old “don't go up the stairs” warning you try to tell the characters by squirming in your seat. Intruder lacks this tension at first because you're not exactly sure what's going on, and with the large cast and lack of character background with any of them, it's hard to decipher where everyone is and who is still alive. Perhaps that's a good thing. Surely when the movie's awesome kill scenes surface, you really don't care who gets the ax; you just want to see how many horrible ways someone could be murdered within an hour at a supermarket.

As mentioned before, the cast is considerably large for a slasher, and they are killed rather swiftly. I couldn't really catch most of the characters' names or tell Ted and Sam Raimi apart, but it really doesn't matter. Jennifer (Elizabeth Cox) and her coworker Linda (Renée Estevez) are the only two employees at the registers when it comes time to close at their supermarket. Meanwhile, all the male workers are busy cleaning, butchering meat, and adding numbers in various parts of the store. The last customer to be rung up is Jennifer 's ex-boyfriend who was recently released from prison. Their breakup has left him a little disgruntled, and he picks a fight with her. When the fight turns physical, all the male workers attack and kick the brute out. The police are called and can't find him, so everyone goes about their routine closing, which seems to take much longer than it normally should. They all get together and one of the veterans there expresses his disappointment that the store will be closing and the property handed over to the government. A little more prep work is done for the following day, but when it comes time for everyone to leave, no one is able to make it out of the front door. Using meat hooks in the cooler, table saws, box cutters and various knives, a mysterious killer has infiltrated the store and intends on leaving no one standing. But is Jennifer's woman-beating boyfriend the culprit or does someone else have a score to settle?

Like most slashers, half the joy in a movie like this is the dark humor and the chain of unrealistic events. You keep asking yourself, how do these people not know how to pick up a large object and fight back? Truth is, a woman is usually the last one standing, and therefore going through bouts of crying, screaming, and running extremely slowly/awkwardly before there is any resolution. But unlike other horror movies, this one has a unique ending that turns out to be very entertaining, if not funny. Like Halloween and a few other '80s slashers, the best thing about Intruder is the camera work. I have never seen a camera placed in such strange and intrusive angles, and that goes for any genre. Likewise, the kill scenes are executed with style, and as I've stated many times before, the old-school special effects and prosthetic makeup keeps movies like this dated in a good way. I also liked the fact that most of the roles barely have any dialogue, including a cameo from Bruce Campbell at the end that lasts all of two minutes. This was a silly, disproportioned slasher directed by the guy who co-wrote Evil Dead 2, and has a substantial amount of noteworthy gore. Recommended to horror and cult fans, or for anyone who wants to see a bizarre cast that seems uniformly lost while being butchered.

Posted by:
Edythe Smith
Mar 17, 2011 6:38pm
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