NOTE: Screenshots were
taken from the DVD
this supermarket is having a sale... All heads half-off!
by Scott Spiegel, who's probably best known for co-writing the
horror-comedy classic Evil
Dead 2, Intruder came along
at the tail end of the 1980s slasher movie boom. Largely overlooked
since its release, early home video releases absolutely gutted
the film (no pun intended) of its gore in order to secure an R
rating. Despite this, the film managed to gain a small but devoted
cult following over the years, and this unrated "Director's Cut"
restores the film's kills to all their bloody glory.
the small Michigan town of Walnut Lake, the night crew of the
Walnut Lake Supermarket are preparing to begin their shift. While
initially it looks like it'll be a pretty by-the-numbers night,
the employees get a rude awakening when Craig (David Byrnes),
the scorned ex-boyfriend of cashier Jennifer (Elizabeth Cox),
stops by to try to make up with her. When Jennifer makes it clear
she's not interested, Craig angrily refuses to take no for an
answer (you can tell he's a bad boyfriend because he has a leather
jacket and a mullet!) and ends up fighting with most of
the staff. Even after they manage to kick him out, the creep is
still determined to get Jennifer to come back to him, whether
she wants to or not. Even worse, they all learn that store owners
Danny (Eugene Glazer) and Bill (Dan Hicks) have decided to sell
the store to the city, although it becomes clear Bill is not too
happy about this. Of course, all these problems seem pretty trivial
once the horribly mutilated bodies of the employees start piling
Shot on a low budget over a few weeks, Spiegel recruited some
of his show-business buddies for help with Intruder,
casting his pal Sam Raimi (director of the Evil Dead and Spider-Man
series) along with his brother Ted Raimi (Evil
Dead 2, Xena: Warrior Princess) in prominent roles.
Ash himself, Bruce Campbell, even makes an appearance too, although
despite his name being prominently displayed in the film's advertising,
he only has a brief cameo at the end of the film. The real standout
of the cast, though, is fellow Evil Dead
2 veteran Dan Hicks, the mustachioed character actor delivering
a nicely unhinged performance. While Intruder
never reaches the frenetic, loopy heights of Raimi's Evil Dead
films, it's clear Spiegel learned a thing or two from working
with his more well-known friend. One of the first shots in the
movie is from the perspective of a shopping cart, and as the film
goes on Spiegel gives us shots from the floor, a cup and even
the inside of a rotary phone! The inventive camera work helps
set Intruder apart from some of the
more lazily lensed slasher films that were so common during the
'80s, proving that a good filmmaker can flex his creative muscles
even on a minimal budget.
If I have one major complaint about the film, it's that it takes
a bit too long to get going. The first on-screen kill doesn't
occur until well over a third into the movie, and while I'm all
for setting the mood and getting to know the characters, that's
a bit too long for this type of movie. Once the blood does get
flowing though, it never lets up until the end, with the special
effects team of Howard Berger, Robert Kurtzman and Greg Nicotero
turning in some of the gooiest, most creative kills of the decade.
Just about every way you can imagine someone being brutally killed
in a grocery store is featured in this movie: meat hooks, cleavers,
a slicing machine, you name it — it's in here, and in this Director's
Cut, Spiegel doesn't shy away from showing all the gory details.
While Intruder wasn't a game changer
for the horror genre by any means, it's a well made film that
features some fantastic kills and camera work, and it's easy to
see why it has amassed such a passionate following over the years.
Now if only Bruce Campbell had a bigger role...
Films have done a fantastic job with this release of Intruder,
offering the film in a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack, which has the
director's cut version of the film previously released on DVD
in high definition. As can be expected given the film's age and
low budget, this Blu-ray is not going to be the best looking disc
out there, with a fairly large amount of grain present throughout
the film. Having said that, this is the best the film has looked
since it first came out, Synapse doing a fantastic job with the
film's restoration. Audio is DTS-HD MA 2.0, and again, while it's
not the most technically impressive audio track out there, it
does its job very well.
Extras include a commentary track by Spiegel and producer Lawrence
Bender, which has several great anecdotes and only a small amount
of dead air. The pair are surprisingly hard on themselves during
the track, but it's clear they love the film and appreciate the
experience making it. The biggest extra is a 40-minute making-of
featurette called Slashed Prices: The Making of Intruder.
It features interviews with most of the cast and crew, although
Sam Raimi is strangely absent. (Seriously Sam, even Bruce Campbell
found the time to make an appearance!) Other important extras
include some footage from the work print of the film that extend
some of the murders, some outtakes from Spiegel's now mostly lost
Super-8 short film The Night Crew*
which served as the basis for Intruder,
and audition footage of some of the actors. All this is included
in addition to the usual assortment of trailers and stills.
films have given Intruder an amazing
Blu-ray release and the great extras should make fans of the film
I'm really hoping this will be a wake-up call to Sam Raimi to
include his pre-Evil Dead short film
Within the Woods on that movie's