Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) stars in The Intruders, a confusing horror movie that wants very much to be a ghost story, but is really more of a home invasion film. Neither concept works entirely too well here, and mixed together, it really just creates a movie that struggles to hold your attention.
Cosgrove is Rose, a 20-year-old college student who is forced to take a leave of absence after the stress of her mother’s suicide triggers a breakdown. She moves with her father to a new home, reluctant to leave behind the memories of her family life in their former house. The new place is an old house; the previous owner – a town staple who was loved by everyone – abandoned it seemingly overnight, never to be heard from again. Rose feels like there is something wrong with the house but, naturally, her father Jerry (Donal Logue, Sons of Anarchy, Blade) doesn’t believe a word of it, instead blaming it on Rose’s ‘condition.’
As things spiral out of control, Rose begins to think that a missing girl who was staying in the house previously was murdered or abducted by a neighbor, played by Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan, Natural Born Killers). That entire concept is killed very quickly with one scene explaining everything “off” about the guy. For some reason, the filmmakers chose to just bounce around quite a bit throughout the entire film, with little focus. Is it the neighbor? Is it a ghost? Why do they assume that a generic-looking doll head, that keeps moving around the house, might be scary or unnerving for the viewer…or even for Rose as a character?
Despite a decent score that feels just slightly above generic compared to other genre films, the tone of the entire film is never really locked in. You want to feel like there’s something haunting here, but in reality, nothing ever really comes to fruition. Cosgrove can’t seem to play any sort of crazy, and since we’re following along with her story, which doesn’t even seem that far-fetched as she explains it to other characters, I was led to feel like everyone else around Rose might just be extremely dumb. They did introduce a boyfriend character along the way, and he might have been the weakest set-piece in the film. Such a nag, he’s constantly prying into Rose’s life, immediately upon meeting her, asking extremely personal questions that would off-put anyone in real life, but apparently Rose found attractive.
The entire film falls apart during the end, when the “big reveal” of the third act rolls around, and you realize what’s actually happening, as if it wasn’t completely obvious mid-way through the film. A disappointment, really, as to be quite honest, I love seeing ex-Nickelodeon stars break away from their roots and move into darker, more adult roles. It worked great for Josh Peck in movies like Mean Creak and The Wackness, and numerous other pre-teen Nick stars went on to fulfill more grown-up roles in TV and film. Here’s hoping the next time around, Cosgrove chooses a role in a worthwhile film.