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article imageReview: ‘Intruders’ keeps audiences guessing Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Sep 11, 2013 in Entertainment
In ‘Intruders,’ a screenwriter retreats to a secluded location to complete a project, but is interrupted by some unwanted guests and unexpected trouble.
Sometimes you just want to get away. Away from people, distractions and responsibilities. This is generally the writer's retreat to some secluded area that allows them to finally concentrate on the overdue script, manuscript or paper that has sat unfinished for some indeterminate amount of time. But Intruders (a.k.a. Jo Nan-ja-deul) demonstrates that even the best laid plans for peace and quiet can be derailed.
A young screenwriter (Jun Suk-ho) plans the perfect escape from his everyday life: a bed and breakfast outside a small town closed for the winter. There, with no distractions, he planned on finally completing his script. But his plan is thwarted early by a chance encounter with a lonely ex-con (Oh Tae-kyung) who insists they hang out. Even more disruptive are the would-be guests who the writer is too nice to turn away and repeatedly request his services. The discovery of dead bodies in the neighbouring woods is the final interruption to an already disastrous trip.
This movie makes an unexpected but seamless transition from a dark comedy to a thriller. The first act in which the writer unknowingly befriends the ex-con is hilarious; each new piece of information he reveals about himself is more disturbing than the last, making their interaction increasingly worrisome. Then the unwanted B&B customers result in a series of follies. But before the audience knows it, there are fewer laughs and the pace of the picture is picking up. Murder, kidnapping, police and numerous misunderstandings lead to an exciting conclusion that could not have been predicted at the start.
Writer/director Noh Young-seok was inspired to write the picture when he had a similar encounter getting away to work on an unrelated script. The newly released criminal he met was so influential, Young-seok completed half the script in the first day of his arrival. It's definitely not the typical cabin in the woods picture, though the dead bodies do give that initial impression. The true source of the threat is hinted at throughout the movie, but most of the characters are too self-involved to take notice.
Strong performances and an intriguing script combine for a film that delivers the unexpected while leaving the ending open for interpretation.
Intruders is screening as part of the Contemporary World Cinema programme during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which runs September 5 to 15.
Director: Noh Young-Seok
Starring: Jun Suk-ho and Oh Tae-kyung
More about Intruders, Jun Sukho, Noh Youngseok, Oh Taekyung, Toronto international film festival
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