by George Wolf
If you caught Dennis Quaid creeping around your house on numerous occasions, would you be scared, or just figure he was bringing over some mac and cheese?
Quaid might be one of the ultimate likable dudes, and his playing waaay against type is one of promising threads that The Intruder squanders in its warmed over dish of jump scares and borrowed ideas.
Beautiful couple Scott (Michael Ealy) and Annie (Meagan Good) are living the good life in San Francisco, but Annie feels it’s time they move to the country and start a family. She finds her dream house at the Napa Valley home of Charlie Peck (Quaid), and as quickly as you can say “overly rushed setup,” they’re moving in.
Charlie says he’s selling to head South, so why is he still coming over to mow the lawn, assist with the Christmas decorations, and find reasons to be alone with Annie?
Whaddya bet he’s not really retiring to Florida, or that some guy at Scott’s office would like nothing better than dig into Charlie’s past to find what he’s hiding?
Director Deon Taylor (Traffik) and writer David Loughery (Lakeview Terrace) are both treading familiar ground, too much on autopilot to successfully mine the contrasts they introduce.
It’s old ways versus new, city versus country, and a red hat wearing white guy terrorizing a black couple.
That’s plenty to chew on, but everyone goes hungry while characters make one idiotic decision after another on the subtlety-free ride to a finale lifted verbatim from a 90s thriller.
At some point, Taylor and Loughery needed to chose a path: logical, layered tension or unhinged, over-the-top fun.
It’s clearly evident which one Quaid wanted, but both he and the film end up undecided on the remodeling plans. Like that old, musty spare room with the bad wallpaper, The Intruder is a little creepy, too often unintentionally funny and in need of some work.