When Andrew and his disturbed girlfriend, Lila, travel to a secluded estate for a weekend getaway, they fall into the clutches of a predatory murderer who stalks the dark forest near the house. On Halloween night, the town of Hobb’s Ferry finds itself at the mercy of the Intruder, a bloodthirsty clown, whose depraved tricks push Lila to the brink of madness.
It amazes me at how influential, till this day, that John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is still such an inspiration to so many people. I am also amazed at how often till this day that the film has continued to be mimicked by anyone and everyone who want to make a low budget horror film bought a masked killer on the loose. When there is no real twist to keep things fresh or a bright spot like a performance by an actor, these films begin to be hard to watch. Gregory Caiafa’s “Intruder” tries so hard to be a cut above the standard slasher fare but it never really rises above what it is, a very mildly entertaining entry into the genre.
Lila (Christena Doggrell) is a troubled young girl who suffers from schizophrenia, she tries to live her days as normal as possible but it turns out to be harder than she could imagine. Her boyfriend Andrew (Jack Reiling) decides to take her for a weekend getaway at a summer home. Just when things begin looking up, death shows its ugly head and the people around them begin to drop like flies.
Is it in Lila’s head or is she responsible, or is the mysterious killer in the clown mask real and can she escape his clutches. There was plenty of potential in the story, I found myself really interested in the schizophrenic aspect of the Lila character and Doggrell did a fine job bringing her to life. So much time was spent on her character that everyone around her was just there to be sliced and diced for our entertainment. What was really frustrating was how much time was spent on her disorder with nothing happening and ended with no real payoff.
Maybe I failed to see it since halfway through the film my interest in it shrank to almost nothing. Once the killing started, I was hoping for some nice inventive kills but I was let down there as well. They offered nothing and the good stuff mostly happened offscreen. What did work for those scenes was the sound design and music. They used just the right amount of an ambient score that had a hint of early 80’s horror that helped but still wasn’t enough.
The weight of the film was carried by its lead actress Christena Doggrell and she does a fine job here. It took me a little while to warm to her but she does eventually feel genuine and you do begin to cheer for her. The “Intruder” to me, looked look another certain masked killer who dresses in blue, mostly silent, and wears a mask. In this case, the mask is one of the most ridiculous and non-threatening clown masks I have ever seen. And I don’t like clowns, they scare me, this one didn’t. The film clocked in at around 80min but felt much longer and that is a warning sign. I prefer shorter horror films and I found myself fighting off sleep through most of it.
I won’t call this film a turd, it was a noble effort. People need time to refine their craft and Mr. Caiafa needs a little more time and he
may have a great film up his sleeve. The script just didn’t work for me but it is obviously an intelligence running through it and when that intelligence finds the right story then we will have something to look forward to. There are many people out there who genuinely love to watch low-budget indie horror and you could do a whole lot worse. If you’re looking for something to keep you on the edge of your seat and excited you might want to skip this one. If you’re interested in seeing the potential of a young filmmaker in its’ beginning stages this is worth a watch but watch it during the day when you’re wide awake. I would hate for you to be put to sleep.