A middling yet satisfying thriller.
by Nav Qateel
After her mentally ill mother commits suicide, Rose Halshford (Miranda Cosgrove) and dad Jerry (Donal Logue), quickly move out of the family home and into a fixer-upper. Stanford student Rose takes her mother’s death very badly forcing Jerry to insist she take a year away from collage to concentrate on healing. Rose is on medication to help with an underlying illness, similar to that which her mother had. But Rose secretly flushes the meds down the toilet. The new house is large, with a creepy basement that Rose seems to be drawn to.
Shortly after moving in, Rose begins to notice items being moved and Jerry’s stuff starts to go missing. They also learn that a young woman living in that house had mysteriously disappeared, followed soon after by the woman that owned the house. Now Rose must try to figure out what happened to them before she suffers the same fate.
The Intruders is director Adam Massey’s second film, after his 2006 debut, A Lobster Tale. While A Lobster Tale was a light-hearted indie that appeared to have done well during its festival run, The Intruders is a change of pace and style for the filmmaker. What both films have in common, though, is the use of fairly well known actors in central roles, who elevate the movie with acting skill rather than the weight their names carry.
Playing Rose is the lovely Miranda Cosgrove, who made her mark as a youngster in School of Rock. The actress also voices Margo in the highly successful Despicable Me franchise. Rose is clearly a troubled young woman, unhappy that she’s had to move away from the family home. While she wanted to stay there to try to retain as much of her deceased mother’s memories as possible, Jerry needed to distance himself from those same memories. And this has ultimately caused a bit of a rift between father and daughter.
Rose begins to spot clues left behind of one of the missing women, so she starts to dig into the affair. Then things turn creepy when a doll’s head continually appears in unexpected places. Is someone trying to tell her something? Cosgrove is from that breed of gifted young actor who’s bursting with natural, and seemingly limitless, talent.
Prolific movie and TV actor Donal Logue (Gotham) plays Jerry, a hard working father who rarely has enough time to spend with his daughter. But he at least tries to be as patient with Rose as he can. He feels that Rose is just acting up or simply imagining things. And the fact that her mental state might be in question, means Jerry isn’t quick to believe her seemingly wild theories. Logue gives his character the right amount of gravitas mixed with a hint of guilt, and the resulting performance is pretty convincing.
First-time writer Jason Juravic introduces several important characters of interest to the plot. Like Rose’s new neighbour, Howard Markby (Tom Sizemore), who was at one point a suspect in the disappearance of the missing woman. Helping to repair Rose’s new home is Noah Henry (Austin Butler), and he and Rose start to become a thing. But as we start to get all-too-brief snatches of someone lurking in the background, we start to question which of these characters are guilty of murdering the missing woman. There are enough red herrings mixed with actual clues to keep us on our toes while we try to guess who the killer is.
The Intruders is a fairly low budget affair, yet it doesn’t really lack for anything. The acting is first rate and director Adam Massey has produced a perfectly good thriller. The story itself may not be bursting with originality, but we’re still left with an entertaining film.