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.
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.
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.
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.
MPAA rating: R, for violence and language.
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood