Intruder (1989)
By: Devon B. on July 14, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Wizard Entertainment (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 88 minutes
The Movie
Director: Scott Spiegel
Starring: : Elizabeth Cox, Renée Estevez, Dan Hicks, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Lawrence Bender
Screenplay: Scott Spiegel, Lawrence Bender
Tagline: If this one does not scare you, you're already dead!
Country: USA
Years before he made it big producing films for Quentin Tarantino, Lawrence Bender was involved with Intruder. Also heavily involved was Scott Spiegel, a man who's been riding Sam Raimi's coattails for decades now.

Intruder is set at a small supermarket where Renée Estevez (Sleepaway Camp 2 and Emilio's sister) works alongside those wacky Raimis, Sam and Ted. A young female checker, not Estevez as claimed on the DVD slick, has her ex-con ex-boyfriend come into the store as it's closing. He chucks a major wobbly, and fights everyone in the store in a poorly choreographed brawl, and then disappears somewhere in supermarket. It takes the crew a while to find him, because, despite being a small store, the building has lots of square meters. Anyway, once they find the ex, they kick him out of the store. One of the guys informs the ex he better 'hope the cops get you before I do,' which is a really dumb thing to say because at that moment he DID have him. After all that excitement, the owners announce they're selling the store. As the crew are marking down prices overnight for the big clearance sale, someone starts killing them. I can think of nothing worse than dying at work, but then I work for a bunch of Catholics.

The film does showcase some style, but ultimately the style just highlights how badly done Intruder is in other areas, particularly the script. Even the style gets a bit lazy, with far too many upward angle shots from bins, floors, trolleys, and most anything shorter than the people, really. It's also too bad Bender hadn't hooked up with Tarantino yet, as maybe he could've doctored the script enough to make the oft misfired jokes funny.

Like the jokes, the performances are of a mixed quality, but Bender, Spiegel, Bruce Campbell, and Greg Nicotero all put in cameos. Don't be fooled by Campbell getting top billing on this release (or the still on the back that is obviously from a different movie), Campbell has less screen time here than Tarantino in Reservoir Dogs. The best thing about the casting is getting to see the Raimis on screen together and particularly getting to watch Sam get thrown around and sing a familiar song.

Of course, the big selling point for this DVD is the opportunity to see Intruder uncut. In the 80s, the gore was X-rated (US) and unseen, but now it's just stills on the back. Don't look at the stills on the back, by the way, as they contain spoilers. Anyway, Tarantino has proclaimed the film is completely different with the gore. But as we all know, Tarantino often has his head up his arse. While the KNB FX work DOES help the film, it does not fix all the other problems. It takes nearly 40 minutes to get to the first reinstated gore sequence, and the movie still has lots of nothing much happening, a slew of murders, then nothing much happening till the end. The pacing is still terrible, and the kills still needed to be spread out within the film. The FX also are sometimes poorly presented. The much discussed slicer sequence is poorly edited, and that spoils the effect almost completely.
Intruder is presented at 1.33:1. It suffers specks, dirt, and significant grain, but at least it's uncut.
The audio is a two-channel mix. The volume can jump a bit, and the dialogue can be muffled by sound effects and the score. Sometimes the dialogue is just inaudible even on its own.
Extra Features
The DVD includes a website link, a new trailer for the film, and trailers for a few other Full Moon movies. There were a couple of deleted scenes, including extra gore, on a previous DVD release, so it's too bad those didn't make it to this DVD.
The Verdict
Intruder has far too long a setup for its few murders, even if they're now bloody. The film has a cheesy 80s synth score, varied performances, and red herrings galore. While the gore does improve the film, all it does is elevate the film from boring dreck to watchable 80s slasher. I LIKE 80s slashers, but this film was made by people that thought they were doing a clever 80s slasher, which gives the whole thing a pomposity a movie ultimately about cutting people up doesn't need. A lacklustre DVD also doesn't give the buyer much reason to care.
Movie Score
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