Well, we know Psycho’s twist changed all of that, and only a long line at the concession stand for the must-have, over-priced popcorn would make someone late.
Not only did Psycho change the way we view suspense and horror, but it allowed audiences to consider the inner-lurkings of seemingly benign, even beautiful people. (Uncanny how Anthony Perkins’ Norman Bates character precedes and resembles the real Ted Bundy.) This narrative that we see in the horror medium is something we audiences take for granted, but any replication of “Hitchcockian Origin” can be done, and done extremely well. Intruders is one of those films.
The premise of Intruders is the only familiar element of this film. We meet Anna, a beautiful, yet troubled soul played by Beth Riesgraf. Anna, who suffers from agoraphobia and has not left her home in 10 years, is the primary caretaker for her brother who is dying of terminal cancer. The two share a secret about their past and the behavior of their father, hinting of past abuse and unsettled trauma (afflicting Anna more than her emaciated brother).
Not so, for as the synopsis of the film reveals (and spoils – try not to read about this film or see the trailer beyond here…if you can), Anna’s agoraphobia is a consequence of her past she experienced in this home will be acted against our intruders in ways that perhaps all adults harboring resentment would find cathartic. It’s a cat and mouse game where no one really knows which animal they are, until they are forced to act in the name of trauma, or violence, or simple greed.
While the reveal will not break any new ground at a Hitchcockian level (can’t say much more without spoiling), Intruders works for today’s horror audiences and continues a trend of women in horror films facing their anxieties in nuanced ways. Think of the mother in The Babadook, or even Lauren Cohan’s character in the very creepy The Boy. Female protagonists carefully approach their fears – crazed killers are often metaphors for them – that would typically get their male counterparts killed. Anna is a survivor, and her story is a twisted therapy session for us to enjoy on one level, and to empathize on another.