the excitement wasn’t whodunnit, but howdunnit and whydunnit
A woman (Meera, Freida Pinto) starts a new life with her husband (Henry, Logan Marshall-Green: Tom Hardy’s American doppleganger) after overcoming a bleak cancer prognosis in the dream house that he designed and built. But when they fall victim to a home invasion and robbery, Meera’s newfound sense of security is left shattered.
Intrusion plays the old “vulnerable wife, is the husband too-good-to-be-true?” angle quite well, although I could see where the film was going quite early on. None-the-less, this felt like an episode of Columbo: the excitement wasn’t so much in whodunnit, as we could guess quite early on, but howdunnit and whydunnit — although it must be said that the film didn’t quite deliver on the why.
Somewhat trite, somewhat staid, Intrusion was none-the-less capably written, effectively directed, and well acted. An entertaining Friday night flick.
© 2021 Bryan A. J. Parry
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When the Devil’s near … Toast falls jelly-side down
Devil is a murder-mystery concept piece set mainly in the confines of a lift. Five strangers enter said lift together only to get stuck between floors. Bad enough, you might think. But when one of the five is murdered during a momentary blackout, all Hell breaks loose. Meanwhile outside, our intrepid damaged-goods Policeman tries to solve the unfolding lift-based mystery whilst keeping his shit together.
Devil could have made a good episode of The Twilight Zone (albeit, without the scenes outside the lift). As it was, Devil made for a tense and entertaining horror-mystery. Coming from the mind of M. Knight Shyamalan, there is of course a twist ending, which is reasonably effective, although not totally unforeseeable. And being an M. Knight movie, we can play some Shyamalan Bingo™:
- there was some flabby and ridiculous dialogue (“When he’s [the Devil] near, everything goes wrong. Toast falls jelly-side down, children hit tables, and people get hurt.”),
- a somewhat awkwardly shoehorned religious aspect (handled clumsily with the gibbering Mexican Catholic expositor),
- cheesiness (the awkward mattress salesman and his banter),
- and a damaged protagonist suffering from a traumatic loss.
Despite this, the story was lean and tightly plotted. The characters were fairly believable. The performances were all decent. The movie had a kind of Eli Roth vibe to it, which is good or bad depending on your viewpoint, and a TV serial feel. Perhaps the film benefited from M. Knight sharing the writing duties.
Very enjoyable, albeit not Oscar-worthy. A middling Shyamalan movie: no Sixth Sense, but thankfully no The Happening, either.
© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry
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