Format: Streaming video from Tubi TV on Fire!
I like horror movies, but in general, slashers are the barrel scrapings of the horror genre. There are clearly some great slashers (Halloween, Scream), but the bulk of the genre is just an excuse to try to gross out the audience. Slashers don’t generally have a lot to say about anything; they’re the bread and circuses of horror films. And that brings us to Intruder, a film from 1989 that has as its unique selling point the fact that it takes place inside a grocery store.
No, that’s really it. We’re going to immediately be handed our final girl, Jennifer (Elizabeth Cox), who is a cashier at the grocery store in question. Jennifer is being stalked by Craig (David Byrnes—the “s” on the end of his name distinguishes him from the guy from Talking Heads), her ex who did time for involuntary manslaughter. After Craig comes in and causes a fight, the store closes and the crew is told they need to restock the shelves. They are also told by the co-owners Bill (Dan Hicks) and Danny (Eugene Robert Glazer) that the store is being sold and everything is being marked down. Everyone is going to be out of a job soon because of that.
Got that? Okay, now that that has happened, people are going to start dying, and it’s going to be in some really unpleasant ways. Meat saws, carving knives, meat hooks, pretty much any way you can think of that might be related to a grocery store with one notable exception (it’s teased but as a red herring) is going to be used. This, in fact, is the entire middle section of the movie—the unseen killer goes around and starts killing everyone in the most creative ways available for a grocery store. There’s a lot of gore, because that’s what the audience wants to see, and Intruder is not going to disappoint on this score.
Eventually, we’re going to have everyone whittled down to a few survivors and we’re going to discover exactly who the killer is, and the third act will be final girl Jennifer running from the killer and trying to fight back. If you’ve seen a slasher, you know the pattern, and Intruder isn’t trying to break any new ground.
B-movie horror staple Ted Raimi shows up here for a bit, as does his brother Sam (see the picture above), much more famous as a director. The acting in this is generally sub-par for about half the cast and exactly what is expected from the rest of the cast. Let’s just say it could be worse, but we’re not looking at anything that’s worth an award.
And really, that’s the ultimate problem with Intruder. It exists solely as a vehicle for violence against a group of people in a grocery store. While there are a lot of pointless slasher movies where the cast is just there to be eviscerated (the Friday the 13th franchise comes to mind), at least if feels like there is some judgment on the characters, some vengeful purpose that is happening. That’s not even the case here. None of these characters are guilty of anything other than just having a job. There’s no sense of retribution of even misguided justice. Just violence.
Seeing Sam Raimi as an actor is fun. Seeing a very young-looking, almost unrecognizable Bruce Campbell show up at the end as a cop is fun as well. But otherwise, this is a film that exists only to revel in what sort of gore can be put on a movie screen and how much of it can be done before the audience just gets tired of it. I can’t speak for other people, but I can say that the amount of gratuitous gore—people getting impaled on meat hooks or having their head sawn through with an electric saw—that I am happy to sit through is a lot less than presented here.
I can’t say that Intruder is the worst slasher I have seen, but as a film that essentially has no plot beyond killing and brings virtually nothing new to the genre, there’s not a great deal here that I can see to recommend it.
Why to watch Intruder: Even though Fruit Brute cereal was discontinued in 1982, this film from 1989 contains at least one shot of a customer buying a box of it.
Why not to watch: It’s entirely pointless.