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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.


1989 | United States | 83 min | More...
A still from Intruder (1989)
  • Watched on C-: 3 stars (out of 5)
    on Thu Jul 21, 2022 via Blu-ray

    An unstable man terrorizes the night crew working at a small-town supermarket.

    I love a retail-set slasher. Adding a healthy dose of nostalgia to a genre I already enjoy proves irresistible. Shot in an actual grocery store after-hours, the shots of the breakfast cereal aisle alone triggered a flood of memories.

    Thus, I can forgive Intruder’s many mistakes. Yes, the plot makes no sense. The killer exhibits super strength and speed and a revolving wardrobe. After an early punch to the face, one character’s nose leaks liters of blood for the rest of the movie. And the script demands too broad a dramatic range from the final girl.

    I can forgive these faults because writer-director Scott Spiegel takes his inspiration from Sam Raimi (who, along with brother Ted, has a memorable supporting role) and proffers several memorable shots. My favorites included a POV shot from the floor as a character sweeps, a tracking shot following a slab of beef sliding along its rail hook, and a POV shot from a machine press as it crushes a skull. Good stuff.

    He also adopts Raimi’s sense of humor. The script also proffers memorable bits of dialogue, including a laugh-out-loud exchange involving a Hamilton Beach blender.

    Spiegel co-wrote Evil Dead II, and you can sense the same indie spirit surging through this film. He’s got the ingredients to replicate Raimi’s success: an atmospheric location, great practical effects, and a terrific sense of black comedy.

    But he doesn’t have Bruce Campbell. Yes, the Chin cameos as a police officer at the film’s end, but that’s it. Instead, Spiegel opts for the traditional final girl trope which, without a standout villain, causes the film to run out of gas.

    Not a fatal flaw, but proof that the secret to Raimi’s success was more than Dutch angles, copious blood, and Three Stooges references.