Review: 'The Intruder' is formulaic but fun

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic
Michael Ealy, Meagan Good and Dennis Quaid in "The Intruder."

It's like an HGTV show gone horribly wrong — "Sellers Who Won't Leave!" — in "The Intruder," a highly cheesy but effective domestic thriller that knows what it is and plays to its strengths. 

Michael Ealy is Scott Howard, a San Francisco ad exec who moves to Napa Valley with his wife, Annie (Meagan Good). They buy a lovely country home from Charlie Peck (Dennis Quaid) for a pricetag of $3.3 million. What Charlie — who is first introduced shooting a deer in the woods behind the house — doesn't disclose is he has no plans to vacate the premises.  

Yes, Charlie claims he's moving to Florida to be near his daughter. But his departure date keeps moving back, and in the meantime he keeps hanging around the house, showing up at odd hours and mowing the grass when Scott's not on top of the groundskeeping. He's a clinger, and Quaid's cracked, over-enthusiastic smile shows glimmers of psychotic tendencies.  

Screenwriter David Loughery ("Obsessed," "Lakeview Terrace") has covered similar ground before, and he sets up a classic push-pull between Scott and Charlie and their respective representations of masculinity. Charlie is a traditional man's man, handy around the house, while Scott hires out maintenance jobs. Charlie's a gun owner (who proudly sports a red cap), Scott detests violence and won't allow guns in the house. The racial tension is the unspoken elephant in the room.    

Annie is in the middle, and is polite and sympathetic to Charlie for far longer than she should be. Yes, "The Intruder" is formulaic and you've seen versions of it before. But the game cast and opportunities for interactivity — this is a movie that invites you to shout at the screen — make it a fun if predictable ride. 

'The Intruder'


Rated PG-13: for violence, terror, some sexuality, language and thematic elements

Running time: 102 minutes