Michael Ealey is one of those actors who can’t ever seem to catch a break when it comes to material.
When he lands a part where he can showcase his skills, such as the TV series “Almost Human” in which he played an android cop, it gets canceled.
He gets a meaty role in a flick worth seeing — “Think Like a Man” comes to mind — and it doesn’t get the number of eyes it deserves.
Ealey is normally the best actor working on the screen in anything he does. That doesn’t change with “The Intruder,” but it’s tragic to see his skills wasted in an Alfred Hitchcock ripoff that doesn’t rise to the level of a Lifetime network movie.
Yes, it’s that unsatisfying.
Where does the blame go? Let’s just call it a collaborative effort, as the story proves predictable and riddled with so many horror/stalker movie clichés that what's supposed to be a significant reveal is no surprise, regarding the life of bliss Scott (Ealey) and Annie (Meagan Good) were supposed to lead after purchasing a home in Northern California’s Napa Valley from widower Charlie Peck (Dennis Quaid).
Charlie can’t or won’t let go, and soon — far too soon in the story — we know there’s something off about the overly helpful former owner of their soon-to-be-unhappy home. He claims to be moving to Florida to live with his daughter, but his trip keeps getting delayed and delayed and …
He’s ever present, showing up uninvited and with a leering unhealthy interest in Annie, something she can’t see. Considering it would be obvious to the Three Blind Mice, let alone Scott, it’s difficult to see how she’s not picking up on Peck’s hey-how-you-doing vibes. But it’s in David Loughery’s script.
It doesn’t do Good’s character or the audience any favors to make Annie look this naïve. Yet, director Deon Taylor walks down that path. We’re the worse for it.
No one quite receives the short shrift like Quaid, who has never been known to give a bad performance. Peck comes across as a cartoon villain, so over the top as to ensure this one will be remembered — for all the wrong reasons.
Taylor packs the movie with Hitchcockian clichés. If he did so out of admiration, he should have toned it down considerably. Those who enjoy a good thriller would get it.
The greatest disappointment comes from the fact the hook of the film is given away far too soon, rendering any attempt at creating tension useless.
What else can be said of a film with scores of clichés? Not much. There are no thrills to be had with “The Intruder.”
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.