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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.


1989 | United States | 83 min | More...
A still from Intruder (1989)
C-: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
on Thu Jul 21, 2022

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.

Viewing History

    Watched on
    Thu Jul 21, 2022 via Blu-ray