Review: Intruder

Directed by: Scott Spiegel
Category: Horror

My good man Ingo over at Hellford 667 Movie Reviews recommended this one to me recently. I've also been reading a lot about it lately since Synapse Films is doing a Director's Cut of this gore classic on Blu-ray, due to be released on Dec. 13th.

First thing I feel I need to mention is that I was unaware there were two versions of this film out. An 83 minute butchered cut as well as an 88 and 90 minute unrated Directors Cut. Had I known about this beforehand, I surely would have sought out the unedited version. But it was streaming on Netflix (the 83 minuted edited cut of course) so I thought I'd give it a go anyway.

 There's been a lot of talk about this low-budget gore classic and with Synapse Films calling it "The Holy Grail of extreme gore cinema", well that is quite a statement indeed. I can't help but feel short changed now that I know what I was watching was severely and horribly edited, but it just gives me incentive to go out and actually get my hands on the Director's Cut, which is not very pricey at all.

Jennifer (Elizabeth Cox) is your average girl working the night shift at a local mom and pop grocery store. One day her ex-boyfriend Craig (David Byrnes) shows up as they are closing down for the night demanding that she get back together with him and stating he will do whatever it takes to win her back. Only thing is, she's moved on as he's a physically abusive boyfriend and to top it off, he just got out of prison for killing a guy who intervened when the two of them were having a fight. He immediately starts man-handling her when the rest of her co-workers intervene and after a few fights, are able to throw him out and lock the door as they continue there nightly duties of cleaning and stocking up the shelves for the next day. Mysteriously though, they start dying off one by one in extremely gruesome fashion and it's up to Jennifer to put a stop to the killings once and for all.

Wizards 2005 90 min. Director's Cut
I must say, this was a really fun low-budget little horror film. It's not as well known as say The Evil Dead, but I dare say it's just as inventive and entertaining. Maybe not on par, but on a film with an obvious minuscule budget filmed entirely on one location (the grocery store), it possesses a fun vibe and playful and upbeat pace. One thing is certainly evident right from the opening shots, writer/director Scott Spiegel crammed as much visual ingenuity into "almost" every single shot that, whether you ultimately think it's a good or a bad film, you still have a pretty fun time with it because it's just so damn creative with the camera work. It doesn't always work though as there are a few scenes and sequences that were crinch inducing (mainly any kind of fight), but remarkably most of them do work and work wonderfully. I mean, some of the shots are so damn quirky that you almost laugh when you see them. Like when Linda is talking on a phone, the camera angle is situated inside the actual rotary phone and you are seeing the image of Linda on the phone through the little holes where the numbers would normally be. Huh?? That's just the topper though, as there are many inventive camera shots like that found throughout, no doubt taking inspiration from Intruder co-star and friend Sam Raimi. Yes, "that" Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Spider-man, Darkman) is an actor in this film as a grocery store employee, as well as his brother Ted.

I must say, this is not the kind of film I thought I was going into. In this case, that's definitely a good thing. The cover image at the top is all I had to go on, so immediately I think it's some kind of monster after a chick. I actually thought the chick was Kristy Swanson based on that cover shot too. Nope! What it is is a film about an angry abusive ex-boyfriend who terrorizes a group of grocery store employees during one long night. The entire film takes place in this one location and to great effect. We're treated to inventive and bloody kills and a decent cast, some of them better than others. I don't really want to get too into the story as they do throw in some plot twists that you see a mile away, but that ultimately give the film some fun ideas to play with where you end up second guessing yourself.

Synapse Films 2011 88 min. Director's Cut

I almost didn't want to do a review on this one so soon because the more I think about it, the more I want to see the Director's Cut to get a full appreciation for what Spiegel and company were going for. Because in this edited version, you just get pissed off because every time a kill comes, either the camera pans away and it's all done off screen or it's horribly edited in half and cuts to the next scene. You immediately know that's the case most of the time because right in the middle of a death sequence, everything is cut (the music, the sound effects, the editing, the shot) and it looks and sounds fucking ridiculous. Not the way it was done or executed, but the way it was haphazardly cut by someone who didn't know what the hell hey were doing. It honestly is really hard to watch these butchered sequences. So you can expect another "mini" review of the Director's Cut in the near future when I get a chance to catch it.

All in all though, it was a fun watch. Bottom line is, DO NOT watch the 83 minute edited cut. It'll only piss you off. Either check out Wizard Entertainment's 2005 90 minute Director's Cut (which hilariously glorifies Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi's names in huge letters at the top even though Campbell has a 2 minute cameo at the very end and Raimi is only a minor supporting character) or you can pre-order Synapse Films 88 minute Uncut Intruder Blu-ray/DVD Combo that's set to be released on Dec. 13.


  1. I thought this was okay. It's a very tongue in cheek horror that reminded me a lot of the Sleepaway Camp movies. It's a little sluggish and the acting's bad but the gore and camera work elevate it.

    I thought Spiegel did a better job on Dusk Til Dawn 2 - another film where he apes Sam Raimi's camera techniques.

  2. I agree, it's the gore (which I missed out on watching the edited cut) and the inventive camera work that really sells this thing. You can see that if it was maybe a little more polished, it could really stand out. I need to see the Director's Cut for sure one day.

    I never saw FDTD 2 or any of the other ones, only the first one (which I love to death!). Should I give part 2 a shot?

  3. Yeah I think you'd like it if you appreciate the crazy camerawork in this. Two things you need to know going in, 1) Bruce Campbell, though in the credits is only in the opening 2 minutes (much like Intruder) and 2) It's not the same as Dusk Til Dawn 1, the bar only features briefly.

  4. Got it! Thanks for the heads up buddy!

  5. No probs, might do a write up on the FDTD series soon.