Intruders (2015)

Also known as "Shut In"
**
Woman with agoraphobia, losing ailing brother to pancreatic cancer, is unable to leave her home, having to deal with intruding hoods looking for loot willed to her. The film eventually reveals that she and her brother were behind something quite unsavory, tied to their father. The home invaders soon realize that Anne isn't a feeble and easy mark to undo (she was expected to be at her brother, Conrad's funeral.) 

Instead she aims to flee but her agoraphobia halts her safe passage out of the front door. The trio of intruders are expectedly despicable and wholly unappealing so any actions against them would be most welcome and rewarding. The film tries to throw the monkey wrench into what looked like your garden variety home invasion / fight for survival flick, with resilient and resourceful agoraphobic persistently avoiding doom by outsmarting and outwitting those needing to silence her due to seeing their faces and knowing their profiles. The film follows that formula up to a point then uses a plot twist regarding Anne's troubled psyche and horrible abuse, as well as, her partnership with her brother in the past before cancer took him out of her life. 

Dan, commonly delivering food to Anne's home, is sympathetic to her situation, including the loss of her brother. She offers him money for his efforts to bring her supplies and offer support. Since Dan is best buds with Vance, he seemed to have mentioned the money conversation and this works as a catalyst involving Vance's brother and another friend, seeing easy green as a prize for the taking. JP is the ring leader, Vance's totally in charge and calling the shots brother. Perry is the unstable asshole friend who enjoys tormenting Anne, going so far as to toss her outside to "cure" her of her phobia. 






The film has a basement with retractable stairs. And trap doors. A hidden room which works like a control center. Anne can watch from behind a glass into her childhood room for reasons later to be expounded upon by JP in a ludicrous exposition he just drums up through conclusions based on assumptions made. It is put here to clue us in on everything and JP is the mouthpiece of all people.

Anne is played well by television actress, Beth Reisgraf, who conveys the restlessness and inner struggle. She puts it out there in the way her face is rattled and anxiety presents itself, with survival instincts and her rigged house lending support to what ails her. Rory Culkin, as Dan, is crippled by a bum fall after Anne  pushes him into the basement and spends most of his time injured, while Jack Kesy as JP, tries to upend Anne's efforts to have him perform as her pops and suffer as he did. Martin Starr emboldens his Perry with plenty of rotten attributes suited to the role of a miscreant. Joshua Mikel is not in the film long enough as Vance to make much of an impact but offers a pitiful and desperate character looking for a monetary help that his big brother was more than willing to assist in securing.

I thought the ending, like others critical of it, was a bit tough to swallow. I don't think the symbolic demise of a father, or finding the means to forgive yourself, will just cure you of a deep seeded phobia that literally makes you ill if attempts to leave happen. A symbolic leaving the past behind by burning down the house could so flippantly occur after ten years of being psychologically trapped there was a bit hard for me to buy into.

I guess with all that happens, including her dealing with these trespassers and the loss of her brother, along with being confronted by JP with how fucked up her own situation was, served as a jolt out of her phobic prison. I don't think it works that way, but for dramatic purposes that is where the film wants to go.

Violence is relatively tame in comparison to films of its ilk. A neck is stabbed, a head throttled, a knee dislocation reversed, and a gunshot to the chest, but nothing too blood curdling. Most acts are in self defense and Anne was the one whose house had been invaded. Reactions to the threat and then attending to matters of her tormented soul result from this intrusion. That they would be responsible for her cure...well, that is a bit ironic, isn't it?


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