It occurred to me, as I watched this film, that being buzzed does make for a better viewing experience. I even toyed with the idea to do something like Matt Bellassai’s Whine About It series on Buzzfeed but instead of complaining about life in general, I’d get drunk and review films.
Anyway, for this movie, even though I WAS buzzed, I think I would have enjoyed it just as much stone cold sober. It’s a nice little slice of 80s horror. Partially based on the real work experience at Michigan’s Walnut Lake Market of writer/director Scott Spiegel, Intruder is the story about a grocery store crew and their last night on the job – for some, literally. The owners, Dan and Bill, let the crew know that the WLM is closing its doors for good so when this band of merry teenagers is done for the night, they will all be unemployed. But we can still have fun AND get the work done, right?
It would probably go more smoothly if Jennifer’s stalker psycho ex boyfriend, Craig, stopped showing up and hiding in the store so all the big strong employees have to go looking for him. Once he’s manhandled out of the place, the kids continue slogging through their nightly duties. Except now some shadowy maniac is killing them off one by one. Who will survive? Who is the killer?
Who cares! It’s just entertaining to watch a bunch of people get chopped up!
From what I read about this film, the killer was totally exposed in the trailers and movie posters so I might end up letting some SPOILER details slip from time to time. Not that you’d be watching this for the mystery who-dun-it element so it’s not gonna be that big of a loss.
Though Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are touted as stars, that they certainly are not. Sam plays a supporting character (Randy) and Bruce doesn’t show up until the end and has about 90 seconds of screen time. Those two, along with Ted Raimi as Produce Joe (making a mirepoix of independent horror) are probably the only names most movie goers would recognize. Those more hard core will know Dan Hicks and Renee Estevez but that’s probably about it. Lackluster acting throughout the entire film from this cast but that didn’t deter from the enjoyment factor.
And, oh my, was Ted’s first appearance awkward and horrible. He’s gotten much better, thankfully.
The other thing that bothered me was the cinematography. So many artsy shots along with the standard ‘killer cam complete with heavy breathing sound effects’. When a character is on the phone, the camera filmed as if from inside the phone, with rotary dial stencil over the lens; when the killer is revealed at one point this person is looking through some glass bottles and their image is all distorted (because crazy); as Jennifer described her ex being in jail for a while, the camera moves behind a metal grating/cage thing. Heavy? Meet hand. Geez. We get it. You’re smart and witty and oh so clever. Now knock it off.
Aside from those things, the rest of the movie was a lot of fun. The pacing is perfect. Nice little setup and we don’t have to wait too long for the first kill. Once the hacking and slashing does begin, it delivers victim after victim in a steady stream of blood. Some of the kills are shown and are GLORIOUS (Bone saw to the face? Yes, please.). Those that aren’t, we get to see the body parts at some point, some reassembled to appear like an intact body but then tumble down a moving conveyor belt, some hanging out in the lobster tank or olive jar. The practical f/x are so much fun!
There is a least one major red herring (what 80s horror film is complete without one, amirite?), mostly useless trope characters that you love to watch die, and a killer with a rather silly excuse to slaughter 7 people and a dang strong constitution that won’t allow death to come swiftly. Even the ending of the survivor being assumed the killer by the moronic cops. This film has everything a body needs! Just like milk but with less gassy after effects.
I also love the dated feel of this movie. The clothes, the hair, and the dialogue. There’s even a fucking phone booth at the back of the store. You see, kids, phone booths were these tall metal and glass structures that housed phones you could stick a quarter in and call someone. There weren’t smart phones or tablets or laptops so you little whippersnappers today would be so FUCKED if you got stuck in an 80s horror movie.
Really enjoyable film despite, or perhaps because of, its flaws. Fun effects, great kills, and a general campiness that kicks it up above a lot of other movies from the era.
7 hatchets (out of 10)
About the Author
Peggy Christie has been writing horror fiction since 1999. Her work has appeared in several websites, magazines, and anthologies, including Necrotic Tissue, Code Z: An Undead Hospital Anthology, Black Ink Horror, Elements of Horror, and Vicious Verses and Reanimated Rhymes. Her short story, “Why Be Normal?”, opened the anthology Reckless Abandon from Catalyst Press which premiered at the Horrorfind Convention in 2002. Her collection, Hell Hath No Fury, was published by Hazardous Press in May of 2013. Peggy is also the Secretary of the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers. She even has her own webpage. Check it out at themonkeyisin.com.
Peggy loves Korean dramas, survival horror video games, and chocolate (not necessarily in that order) and lives in Michigan with her husband and their two dogs, Roscoe P. Coltrane and Dozer.