Intruders (Shut In)
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Intruders (Shut In)

There are certain circumstances ideal for a bone chilling thriller. Among the most important is that isolation, it is crucial for the protagonist to be cut or from any form of help or escape. The recent film, ‘Intruders’, originally "built as" Shut in’ not only takes a page from the requisite thrillers plot points it utilizes several chapters. The anticipated cat and mouse game expected when a home invasion by a group of thugs set the stage for nightmarish story. It would seem as though degree of danger stack to march in favor of the intruders leaving failure to hope for the beset upon heroine. This is where the film introduces a couple of particularly insidious plot devices. This young woman is exceptionally intelligent and her fear of going outside the house produces a deceptive façade of vulnerability. The house in which she resides is far from being the normal structure. It was constructed with a myriad of booby-traps, secret passages and hidden rooms. This is sufficient to turn in anticipation of the audience wondering how she will survive being held captive by such ruthless men to wondering what bizarre manner execution will then have to survive. Unfortunately the film is by its very nature need of considerable exposition. The way in which this is handled is a tendency to disrupt the pacing. That brings us to another crucial point about how filmmaker must crafted thriller. The rhythm and flow of the film must forward to story in a precise, carefully planned pace. The director,

This is the first feature-length film director Adam Schindler, but he has worked as an assistant to directors and writers on predominantly on various comedy specials. The writing team of T.J. Cimfel and David White did previously provide a segment for the anthology horror franchise, ‘V/H/S Viral’. Considering the behind the camera talent is the only learning curve this film is a very promising will shortly become exciting careers. There are some problems with the third act with the suspense and tension begins to unravel the full measure of exposition previously supplied. In many ways they painted themselves into a corner of this since the audience needed to know the back story to that extent in order to understand the mindset of the protagonist and the lay the foundation for her reaction to home invasion. In doing so however the audience came to expect much of what was about to unfold.

Anna Rook (Beth Riesgraf) is a widow but more importantly she is an exceptionally faithful and devoted sister. Her brother, Conrad (Timothy McKinney), has pancreatic cancer which although he can occasionally go outside his diagnosis is terminal. Anna suffers from agoraphobia which is confined to the home for over 10 years, since the death of her abusive father. As result of this she has daily visits from young man working for Meals on wheels, Dan Cooper (Rory Culkin), who was also the source of so human contact. During his appointed rounds he frequently comes in for a cup of tea into chat for a while. When the cancer finally claims her brother and is unable to suppress her fears at least long enough to attend a funeral. Despite the encouragement by her brother’ lawyer Charlotte (Leticia Jimenez), and just cannot muster up the courage to walk out the door even for a final farewell for beloved brother. When Dan mentions during one of the chats that he dreams of being able to leave town and start life anew Anna offers him a paper sack filled with money. Young man shocked by the sight of such a small fortune initially refuses but Anna insists she has plenty more and she can surely spare this. Dan is certain that she released taken exception to attend the brother’s funeral but he was wrong and that turned out to be the linchpin for the holiday was about to come.

During the time the funeral was being held Anna’s home is invaded by three criminals the overly controlling leader, J.B. (Jack Kesy), is submissive younger brother, Vance (Joshua Mikel) space and the sarcastic Perry (Martin Starr). Having heard about the large cash they are certain that this would be a very neat operation; while the houses is empty break-in, search for the cash grab it and leave. Much to their surprise the bereaved sister is still in the house called the mourning dress. The chase is on and they are certain that they will easily be able to catch her but the house is quite large and Anna has the home-field advantage. She makes it to the door but it is obvious that she is more terrified of going outside the men wanting to kill her within.

Criminal soon find out that it was far more resourceful than the anticipated. Once she finds a key that has been hidden away for safety and activates clockwork mechanism the house is transformed into a labyrinth of deadly traps. There are hidden passages that Anna can opt out of stairways that just disappear isolating the records about to use them to escape. Most inexplicably an artery creepiest aspect of the house is a child’s bedroom furniture has been bolted to the floor there is a two-way observational mirror that allows anyone in the adjacent room to spy on the bedroom’s occupant. Anna becomes more purposeful interactions apparently more concerned with observing the reactions of the criminals in the fact that they are after the family fortune. We received the impression that this young woman who is carrying a heavy burden of a childhood of psychological damage. It’s a backward scene in a discussion with her brother she reacted quite vehemently using a nickname ‘Birdie’ when referring to. This does give the audience includes a lookout for an avian motif which is reinforced by the parakeet and display of ceramic birds in the living room.

Undoubtedly the strength of this film lies in the performance by Ms. Riesgraf. Prior to this she is best known for numerous television appearances including a leading role in the crime drama ‘Leverage’ and recurring role on the CBS staple ‘Criminal Minds’. She Had a Son with Her Then Fiancé, Jason Lee, making entertainment news headlines when the child was named, Pilot Inspektor Riesgraf-Lee. This does appear to be consistent with the types of all she is prone to accept which are typically exceptionally eccentric and deceptively efficient. She is able to play the role of Anna to near perfection using the character of having been very traumatized in youth but able to somehow build upon to find strength as an adult.

At times some of the traps containment in the house, force is just plot contrivances left over from a horror movie. While watching you are certain that the final big reveal provide a satisfying explanation for these macabre additions to the house but that is where the film or short. After such a long buildup that sparked such great anticipation with the audience the punchline of the movie is a disappointment almost entirely negating all that was previously done right. This is an important reason why there is such a need for independent film. Might be difficult for a movie like this to find backing by a major studio but it deserves to be made seen if for no other reason than to provide real-life experience director and team of writers. Only by doing can they hone their crafts and reach their potential. I’m quite certain that you films down the line we’re going to look back at this movie be amazed just how far along the director and writers have come.

Posted 02/28/2016

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