Director - Scott Spiegel
Cast - Renee Estevez, Sam Raimi
Country of Origin - USA
Discs - 2
MSRP - $29.95
Distributor - Synapse
Reviewer - Scott MacDonald
The Film (4/5)
Growing up in the late 80's and the early 90's, and being a horror fan, I pretty much grew up on a steady diet of Slasher films. Up until the last few years, I thought I had seen them all, and then some independent companies like Synapse started releasing little gems like the Dorm that Dripped Blood that were completely under my radar during that era.
I had actually heard of Scott Spiegel's Intruder, but had only known of it as the film that introduced Quentin Tarantino to producer Lawrence Bender, but after a little research I found out it had a reputation it had a reputation as a fun late period entry into the late 80's slasher genre, so I marked it down on my slasher film bucket list, but never quite got around to seeing it.
And then Synapse announced their acquisition of the title, uncut, and on Blu-ray, and knowing the films troubled release history I knew this release would be monumental, and this would be my opportunity to mark it off my list, and I had to take it. This is a move I do not regret. I have long passed what I consider my "slasher phase," but I know a good and fun movie when I see one, and GODDAMN Intruder is a real good gory fun time.
For those not in the know. Intruder is the debut feature film by Scott Spiegel, a member of the Renaissance Pictures Gang who brought The Evil Dead films to the world (and in turn the filmmakers/actors Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Josh Becker, etc). Scott had worked with the gang doing 8mm films since they were teenagers, and had co-written Evil Dead 2 with Sam. A few years later he decided to go, and do his own horror film, and the result is Intruder.
Intruder takes place during the night shift at an independent supermarket. At the beginning of the shift one of the cashier's ex-boyfriends comes in, newly released from prision, and starts a scene. After that is dealt with the store closes, and the managers make an annoucement, the store is closing, and everything needs to be marked down for the closure by morning. Unfortunately, for this night crew not all of them will make it until morning, as there is a killer on the loose in the supermarket and he is offing them increasingly creative and bloody ways!
OK, so the premise sounds typical 80's slasher, but the execution is anything but. Scott Spiegel's directorial chops having been fine-tuned on this early 8mm films are as sharp as any master filmmaker, and he uses them to great effect on this film. The film is loaded with excellent camera moves, interesting angles, and even some suspense moments that are typically lacking in other slasher fare.
The film is one of the earliest entries in the oeuvre of the fledgling KNB EFX group, and the work they provide on Intruder is simply outstanding. The original video of the film was cut to shreds by Paramount, and Empire Pictures. Sadly, most fans picked up the VHS after an article in Gorezone magazine displayed many of the films gory set pieces. Well, now the film is as uncut as it's going to get in the gore department, and the full gory glory of KNB's work still shines. I don't want to get into the CGI vs. Practical debate here, but the effects in this film which are now over 20 years old, and done on an extremely low budget hold up ridiculously well even when presented in the excellent high definition transfer included on this disc.
So we have the gore, awesome direction by Spiegel, we also have a cast that absolutely rocks! Slasher films are called body count films for a reason, and most of the time, we are simply waiting for characters in it to bite the dust. Not so much in this film. I'm not saying the characters are anything truly special, but they aren't irritating slasher film caricatures, so when they die it makes more of an impact. Also, the performances across the board are universally great, it's not Shakespeare, but the cast makes the most of the material, and have a real fun time with it. Which is required for Intruder, because this film has a great sense of humor running through the whole thing from some great one-liners ("What can I say Iím just crazy about this store") to some great physical humor, Hell even some of the kills offer a bit of a laugh.
Since Intruder is such an under seen film in it's uncut form, I'm not really going to spoil any of them, just know going in you are in for one of the most painfully underrated slasher films of the 80's. This is a film that deserved much more attention than it received, and should have been treated way better on it's initial release. As such it's 22 years since it's release, and we have an excellent Blu-ray edition of the film, so now true horror fans can see Scott Spiegel's original vision for the film in the best format that has ever existed for home video. While it may be a delayed redemption for a lost slasher classic, at least Intruder is starting to finally get the attention it so greatly deserves.
I don't have a comparison point, as this is my first viewing of Intruder. However, I will say that Synapse's 1:85:1 1080p transfer preserving the films original aspect ratio is quite a sight to behold! This maintains the high quality standard that Synapse has set with their Blu-ray releases thus far. The colors on this transfer really pop, black are deep, and the grain structure is intact. The flesh tones are accurate, and the level of detail is incredibly rich.
The audio is presented in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 English track. It is a completely suitable track, there is nothing here that will blow your speakers, but the dialogue is completely audible, and the effects and music are mixed well. I couldn't detect any aural anomalies on the track such as pops, cracks, or hissing. Overall, a completely excellent restoration from Synapse.
If the gorgeous uncut transfer wasn't awesome in itself, Synapse have packed this puppy with a real nice slate of extras. The disc kicks off with an awesome, and informative commentary with Scott Spiegel and Lawrence Bender. We then have Slasher Pieces: The Making of Intruder, a retrospective with the cast and crew of the film (minus Sam Raimi). We then have addition gory bits from the films workprint. There are outtakes from Scott Spiegel's original 8mm short film Night Crew on which Intruder is based. We then have the Slashing of Intruder a short interview with filmmaker Vincent Pereira where he talks about his own experience renting the film based on the aforementioned Gorezone article, and being terminally disappointed by the cut to ribbons final product. When he wrote to the magazine to express his disappointment, and his reaction to that. The disc is rounded off by trailers, a stills gallery, audition footage, and a DVD so you watch Intruder anywhere Blu-ray isn't an option!
I knew I wanted to see Intruder, I just didn't know how awesome it would be. This is not only an underrated 80's slasher, it may be up there with the decades best in that genre. If you are a fan this is a must buy. The A/V is fantastic, and the extras are pretty damn extensive. Highly Recommended.