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Review: Martin Starr leads a strong cast in surprising ‘Intruders’

The admirably nasty “Intruders” is a hit-and-miss home invasion thriller with a few twists. The best surprise is its cast: unusually accomplished for a B-picture.

Martin Starr’s the MVP, veering away from his usual comic deadpan to play a ruthless criminal, ready to resort to violence when a routine burglary goes awry. Starr’s performance — confident, colorful, against type — exemplifies what “Intruders” does so well for so long, before the movie stumbles down the stretch.

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Beth Riesgraf stars as Anna, an agoraphobic. On the day of her brother’s funeral, three thieves break into her massive old house, looking for a sack of money. Because Anna can’t leave her home, they tie her up and go exploring — finding hidden rooms and booby traps.

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Director Adam Schindler and screenwriters T.J. Cimfel and David White make great use of their single location and handful of actors, building the story around the slow-building mystery of just what Anna’s deal is. As “Intruders” shifts from questions to answers though, it loses a lot of its charge, revealing a back story that’s pat and disappointingly lurid.

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Still, Riesgraf is excellent in a tricky part, which requires her to elicit sympathy while concealing the truth about her character. Rory Culkin has a strong turn as a friendly delivery man who talks too much. The actors alone can’t sustain “Intruders” for its full 90 minutes, but for the most part they follow Starr’s lead, carrying a film that’s both menacing and magnetic.

“Intruders”

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MPAA rating: R, for violence and language.

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood


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