What to Watch Verdict
'Intrusion' is a forgettably derivative home invasion thriller that, to quote a famous Springfield resident, will make you feel nothin' at all.
🕰️ Logan Marshall-Green and Freida Pinto try to escape their poorly written confines.
🕰️ Cleanly shot.
🕰️ Is definitely a movie.
🕰️ Boringly generic, all caps.
🕰️ Lacks any real suspense.
🕰️ Same goes for thrills.
I wouldn't be shocked to learn Netflix purchased Adam Salky's Intrusion as a last-minute Halloween acquisition from Lifetime. Writer Chris Sparling isn't functioning on levels of horrific intrigue as proven in titles like ATM or The Atticus Institute and lacks even a grain of tension found in Buried. Maybe that falls on Salky's failure to ensure the narrative mysteriousness throughout Intrusion remains an actual mystery, as even kindergarten detectives will have this case pinned in a matter of seconds. That's the Lifetime element mentioned above—any genre regard is schmaltzy, overproduced, and insufficiently subtle to the point of disappointment. A glaring issue made even more prominent by an exasperating lack of spooky-seasonal scares.
Freida Pinto and Logan Marshall-Green star as a couple who endure the trauma of a home invasion and rebound on separate terms. Meera (Pinto) can't quarter potatoes without her hands trembling; Henry (Marshall-Green) insists on throwing their housewarming party despite the violent break-in. Detective Stephen Morse (Robert John Burke) records their statements and, before leaving, drops a bombshell—a missing teenager (Megan Elisabeth Kelly as Christine Cobb) is bonded by namesake to their aggressors, which connects dots that Meera can't shake. Could smashed living room furniture and new security systems be collateral effects of something far more disturbing?
The answer, recognizably, is yes. Intrusion weighs heavy Henry's button-up, model "nice guy" husband in early glimpses where Marshall-Green dons a more kempt Poindexter appeal, furthered by Meera's past cancer battle and how Henry romantically never fled his ailing partner. Salky doesn't use the home invasion as a featured conflict like in The Strangers or Trespass. What's over in a flash sends ripple effects through picture-perfect Hallmark lives, which flatly level sans waves of revelations or chilling exposures. Everything Meera observes, senses, and questions couldn't be more blatantly obvious in a film that's as competently lukewarm as your timid neighbor's debut true-crime podcast.
Beat by beat, Intrusion unremarkably stokes Meera's justified paranoias with the most underwhelming suspense milestones. Henry's reaction to making Meera feel safe after the criminality is to install app-controlled locks and smartphone tracking software; cue Meera ignoring his GPS tracker, so she gets caught sleuthing. All Henry's past destinations are programmed into his SUV dashboard; Meera drives to a rust-bucket trailer park where she locates incriminating camcorder evidence. All roads lead towards inevitably as Salky's methods run through motions versus gain momentum, generating paltry levels of mania in otherwise dangerously sociopathic insinuations. That's not to blame Pinto for her bargain-bin character's shortcomings or the stale production's unenthusiastic approach to physical and emotional abuse—it's just the entire experience remains so unfazed by its own alarming actions.
That's the glaring frustration point of Intrusion—it's not a movie without purpose. Henry manipulatively insists that unwavering allyship and comfort throughout Meera's illness is to be repaid; guilt plagues Meera's conscience even though she's able to guide her psychiatric patients away from such strangleholds. Marshall-Green struggles to digest what should be a meatier, "good guy or secret psycho" chameleon whose attempts at unsettling and dissuading blame are flubbed by off-camera directions that are certainly less Jekyll and Hyde than hoped (whichever is his true identity). Even consider Robert John Burke's usage, a cowboy lawman who's immediate to side-eye Marshall-Green's calmly composed homeowner without a second's hesitation or necessary buildup.
Intrusion is as sanitized and mediocre as housebound thrillers come between polished architectural cinematography and dreadfully dreadless home-invasion-adjacent ambitions. Freida Pinto and Logan Marshall-Green are victims of circumstance, caught portraying characters whose unpredictability is increasingly predictable. It's the vanilla wafer of thrillers, with just enough flavor except dry as hell and never the star of whatever feast it's thrown into as an afterthought. A film that should be vastly more diabolical and delusionally paced than its final formulation, and yet barely registers a yelp or shudder as the whole flaccid ordeal flops around until the credits wipe our minds clean.
You can watch Intrusion on Netflix when it premieres on September 22, 2021
Matt Donato is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic who stays up too late typing words for What To Watch, IGN, Paste, Bloody Disgusting, Fangoria and countless other publications. He is a member of Critics Choice and co-hosts a weekly livestream with Perri Nemiroff called the Merri Hour. You probably shouldn't feed him after midnight, just to be safe.
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