Uprooting one’s life to move to a new home, or especially a new town, can be distressing. The unfamiliar can easily become frightening and/or appear threatening. Anxieties are amplified and everything appears alien or suspect. Compound that with existing mental health issues and you get the terror experienced by the young woman at the centre of The Intruders.
Rose (Miranda Cosgrove) is staying with her father (Donal Logue) during a recommended leave of absence from Stanford after her mother’s death. He’s just bought a new house that he hopes to restore and into which they’ve recently moved. He’s a workaholic so Rose is often left alone in the enormous house with its various creaks and quirks. But when a neighbour girl indicates something sinister occurred in the home, Rose investigates and discovers a girl reported missing once lived there. Suddenly objects are moving around the house unaided and she grows suspicious of a neighbour who was once a suspect in the case. Meanwhile Rose’s father, who is never home to witness these occurrences, is concerned about Rose’s medication and the possibility she’s having another episode.
The chief question to be answered throughout this narrative is whether Rose is being haunted by a tormented ghost or a disturbed human being. Her first guess is that the missing girl was murdered on the property and is guiding her to help solve her case. However this is also the theory that’s causing people to question her sanity — a path that’s explored relatively well during the first half of the picture. The other possibility gains traction throughout the narrative, though the stalker’s identity has more than one prospect. Those versed in the genre will like be able to easily recognize the red herring and those who’ve seen similar stories will figure out the so-called twist before it’s revealed.
There’s a lot of moments in the film meant to give audiences a shock, but they’re not particularly effective. For one, building anticipation for something to happen that never does gradually wears thin — and by the time it does, it’s no longer exciting. Second, repeating the same tricks to cause a fright, such as an obscured figure in the background, eventually becomes predictable. While it’s evident the filmmakers have seen similar horror pictures and are well-intentioned, they fail in applying their knowledge to create a successful scary movie, or even a good jump scare.
In the end even though the story is recycled, filmmakers commendably assemble the film’s parts to develop a passable thriller narrative; however, the visual execution is something still to be desired.