The Intruder

Scott Howard (Michael Ealy) and his wife Annie (Meagan Good) are an intelligent, sophisticated and wealthy African American couple who purchase their dream home: a three million dollar turn of the century property located on a deserted dirt road in Napa Valley, California.

The house, known as Foxglove, was sold to them by an eccentric but apparently well-meaning widower named Charlie (Dennis Quaid). Charlie’s wife died of cancer, so he’s moving to Florida to be with his daughter. He’ll be leaving in a few weeks, he says, but it doesn’t turn out that way.

You see Charlie keeps showing up unannounced. A man who loves guns and wears a bright red baseball cap (!), Charlie, uninvited and unwelcome, mows the lawn, hangs holiday lights and, at one point, even delivers a pizza! He’s also stalking the joint: watching the new homeowners argue, dine and make love in their marble-laden kitchen.

The Intruder’s workmanlike script by David Loughery does what it’s supposed to do and even contains a level of back story not often seen in this type of thriller: Scott’s fear of guns; Annie’s discovery of an affair; but Annie’s naivete plays too long and it’s a sore point with moviegoers (who heckle) and reviewers (who have not been kind). Surely an attractive woman like Annie, someone who writes “self-empowerment” articles for women’s magazines, would catch on sooner than she does.

And what about Scott? He’s a smooth operator on the job—that’s why he was just acknowledged as the “highest earner”—but would his laid-back demeanor really carry over so completely as Charlie crosses boundaries and overtly lusts after his wife?

Director Deon Taylor delivers a sack full of the expected goods: jump cuts, R & B music, creepy treks through the forest, an ax murder, and even a grand turn-the-tables finale. And the lack of reference to Annie being a young black woman who (much older) white Charlie is obsessed with, is refreshing and modern: he just likes her: period. Look for a knife-and-grimacing face-through-the-door moment taken directly from The Shining!


Josiah Howard

Josiah Howard lives in New York City. His writing credits include articles for The New York Times, The Village Voice and Motion Picture. Currently he is adapting a previously published work for the big screen. A veteran of more than one hundred radio broadcasts, he is a regular contributor to the film review website Grindhouse Cinema Database and in 2014 was featured in five episodes of TV One's award-winning documentary series Unsung.

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