Monday, July 17, 2017

Get Out (please)

Some movies are made to scare you. Some are made to make you look at the world differently. Some want to make you laugh.
And some seem put together solely to piss you off.

Quick Plot: A pre-credits teaser introduces us to an attractive young woman home alone at night. Before we get to know much about her, a mysterious figure throws a plastic bag over her face and kills her in a quicker way than I though possible based on what I know about air supply.

Moving on. 

Elizabeth, a cellist for the Portland Philharmonic, is mulling the decision to accept an elite position with a London orchestra. Holding her back her university tenured boyfriend Justin, who respects Elizabeth's talent and ambition but can't make the overseas switch for his own occupational reasons. 

As Elizabeth sits back for a leisurely weekend of laundry, wine, cat sitting, decision-making, and a LOT of showering, a hooded figure slips into her apartment to commit such atrocities as peeing in her kitchen sink, taking a bite out of an apple in a fruit bowl and putting it back, and worst of all, dipping his dirty finger into her cottage cheese.
Over the next day or so, Elizabeth showers and runs some errands, unaware that a potential killer is following her every move. She showers. She does some laundry and meets an odd but seemingly nice enough neighbor named John. She feeds her friend's cat and showers. She stops at her rehearsal studio to practice some Dvorak under the strict eye (and terrible line delivering) of her conductor Vincent, played (badly) by Moby for reasons unexplained. Then she showers. Because the movie needs a few more suspects, Elizabeth also continues to bump into a mysterious man who's either homeless or, you know, another mysterious neighbor.  Justin stops by for some makeup/breakup sex. Elizabeth showers. She pours more wine, Skypes with her mother, practices her cello...

Guys, seriously: the cello is the most interesting part.
I have no way of discussing why I hated this movie so much without spoiling it, but before I do that, allow me to provide the stupidest warning I have ever had to give: if for some masochistic urge you decide to watch this movie (maybe because you really like showers), make sure you stick around past the first minute or so of the credits. This is only if you want to actually see the ending of Intruder, which for some reason, is "hidden" after the first round of titles. So if, like me, the movie ends you say, "Are  you kidding me?", take some comfort in knowing another 3 minutes are coming soon. 

Note that when those 3 minutes end, your reaction, if you are me, will be something more akin to, "Oh, are you F*CKING kidding me?"

So. After 80 minutes of watching a hooded figure skulk around the likable but possibly deaf Elizabeth, the movie decides to just SHOW his face. And yes, it's John, the creepy neighbor who says more words than the other creepy neighbor who proves to be one of a few red herrings in a mystery that the film doesn't have the skill to actively craft. 

So. 80 minutes of buildup and teasing, a lot of showers and closeups of a cat's bland facial expressions, a one second reveal, punctuated by Elizabeth going to sleep, sneezing, and awakening the reveal that JOHN HAS BEEN IN THE HOUSE THIS WHOLE TIME BUT AT LEAST HE SAYS BLESS YOU SO BRIDGET FONDA IN SINGLES WOULD LIKE HIM.

I'm angry now, but about to be angrier at writer/director Travis Zairwny (sometimes credited as "Travis Z." which does not help matters in the least). After we learn the names of a few key players behind Intruder, we get our coda (which is actually an ending, and not a coda, but whatever). Elizabeth wakes up trapped in John's basement. She bangs at a window for help.
And John wraps a plastic bag around her pretty face and kills her.

A few more credits roll.

Then he goes to his favorite coffee shop and starts on his new female fixation.
Eff. This. Movie.
Eff it for burying its ending after the credits as if its viewers were that invested that they wouldn't immediately change the channel after it ended. Eff it for tossing in suspect after suspect without giving us any reason to evaluate their motives. Eff it for being so cruel in how it disposes of a character we've just spent 80 minutes watching with such mean abandon. Eff it for making said character the least observant person to ever be presumably gifted with the five senses (I mean, she cooked breakfast and somehow didn't smell the urine in her kitchen sink?). Eff it for the amount of times it almost has her realize THERE'S A PERSON IN HER APARTMENT ALL WEEKEND only to have a last minute distraction save said PERSON IN HER APARTMENT from being discovered. Eff it for how it offers absolutely no finesse in revealing WHO THE PERSON IN HER APARTMENT IS other than just randomly showing his face. Eff it for its showers. Eff it for wasting so much time showing how the cat is the only one in the movie with any awareness that there's someone inside, except that the cat doesn't act like any cat ever in that he never actually acts as if there IS someone inside. Eff it for pretending to be this deep character study in such a terribly paced slice of life way while offering no sense that anything matters. And of course, eff the many, many showers.

It is mean, it is pointless, it is boring, and it is easily one of the most unsatisfying films I have ever watched. 

High Points
The real shame of Intruder is that it contains the kernel of a great idea. We've seen the home invasion tale told time and time again, but the way the film begins to (very loosely) craft its suspects suggests a much more interesting look at how, for a very attractive young woman, every interaction with a man might pose some kind of danger. We meet Moby's Vincent as he berates Elizabeth while giving her an unwanted massage (thus opening up a whole slew of uncomfortable questions about a woman trying to fend off sexual harassment without confronting it). John is introduced as the kind of nice neighbor you meet and should be friends with, but then goes on to ask just enough questions to make you immediately mention your boyfriend to shut down any chance of the conversation going in the wrong direction. Then there's the creepy guy who just seems to live outside this nice neighborhood. Maybe he's just an eccentric who likes the rain, but as any woman who has had to decide whether to respond when a stranger on the street says hello will tell you, there's a complicated threat there. 

If only the movie were smarter to actually explore this

Low Points!!!!

Lessons Learned
Extremely skilled musicians typically have terrible hearing 

Anyone who claims to make a living by blogging is definitely a lying homicidal maniac

When done effectively, fatal stab wounds yield no blood

You want an effective thriller about a hard-working young woman being stalked by an obsessive psychopath? Watch Sleep Tight. Want a poorly constructed, misanthropic slug of 90 minutes that will waste your time? This one's on Instant Watch. 

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