By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Going into this movie, I couldn’t help, but think, ” You’ve seen one movie about an obsessive psychopath, then you’ve seen them all.” To be fair, that is not always the case. In the case of The Intruder, the movie does have much in common with other similar films that have preceded it. However, I still found myself somewhat engaged with the characters and was pleasantly surprised with Dennis Quaid’s entertaining and disturbing turn as said psychopath. All in all, The Intruder doesn’t exactly break the mold, but it does actually rise above other painfully ludicrous attempts at the subgenre.
Quaid stars as Dennis Peck, a seemingly charming and old-fashioned retiree selling his family’s old classically rustic home in a peaceful area in Napa Valley. Married couple Scott (Michael Ealy) and Annie Howard (Meagan Good) have fallen in love with the home and manage to work out a great deal with Peck to buy it. While making the sale, Dennis obviously has much love and pride for his house and property and seems rather saddened to let it go. These emotions come across as sweet and heartwarming at first. However, when Dennis begins appearing at the house multiple times, often invading their privacy, Scott begins to feel uncomfortable. At first Annie and Scott feel sorry for the sad gentleman, but eventually discover that his intentions are more frightening than had anticipated.
Written by David Loughery and directed by Deon Taylor, The Intuder may not be the most original or brilliant entry in this subgenre, but it does have some solid drama, tension, and thrills to offer. The movie more or less plays out like expected, but the decent character development and skillful direction help keep it audiences engaged and invested. In addition the great acting by its three leads really adds to the movie’s impact.
Michael Ealy gives a solid performance as Scott Howard, a man born and raised in an urban environment and not as naive as his sweet and kind-hearted wife Annie. Meagan Good, who portrays Annie, gives a charismatic and heartfelt turn. Annie grew up in a rural environment and feels more at home in the new house. While Scott begins to see the unnerving signs of danger primarily, Annie dismisses his concerns as paranoia. She truly wants to see the good in Dennis Peck and this leads to some conflict between the husband and wife.
As for Peck, I was genuinely wowed with Dennis Quaid’s work here. Never before had I seen such a an exciting and creepy performance from the actor. Quaid has mostly made a career of portraying charming leading men and very vanilla average joes. It is definitely refreshing to see him do something dynamic and bold here. He occasionally gets as tad over-the-top in some moments, but not so much that it grates. I applaud Quaid for taking some risks and tremendous strides with his acting in this role.
So if there is one main reason to go see this movie, I would have to say the name Dennis Quaid. If someone had told me this prior to seeing the movie, I would have been in utter disbelief, but it is definitely the truth. Deon Taylor and David Loughery have made a solid thriller, but it is Quaid whose acting that is something one must behold. Just when people thought he was on his way out, Quaid has pulled himself back in.