Home » Intruder Retrospective – Super Market Slasher

Intruder Retrospective – Super Market Slasher

Poster for Scott Spiegel's Intruder.
Poster for Intruder.

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The night crew at a Detroit area grocery store learns that the shop will soon be closing its doors for good. The employees take to marking down all product on hand and preparing the store for an impending change of ownership. It appears that someone within the ranks is more than a little unhappy with the prospect of losing their job, though. The disgruntled individual is roaming the aisles and picking off the night crew, one by one, each dying a more gruesome death than their predecessor.

Intruder shows that there are more ways than one might think to die in a grocery store: Death by meat hook, death by trash compactor, death by meat cleaver, and that’s just getting started. The killer uses the grocery store setting to his or her advantage. The set pieces provide a unique opportunity for the slasher to brandish an impressive variety of weapons as he or she takes their frustration out on the unassuming night crew.

Intruder is co-written and directed by Scott Spiegel (Hostel Part III). While Spiegel didn’t strike gold with Hostel III, he did manage to make a scrappy and intense horror thriller with Intruder.

The DVD release of Intruder leads potential viewers to believe that they are in for an onscreen teaming of Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi. While both Raimi and Campbell are in the film, they don’t appear onscreen together and neither one has a particularly substantial role. Sam Raimi’s part is much larger than Bruce Campbell’s but neither has a great deal of screen time. In fact, Bruce Campbell is on camera for less than five minutes. It would be more appropriate to say that the film stars Elizabeth Cox (The Wraith) and Dan Hicks (Evil Dead II).

Regardless of who actually stars in the film, the performances are not this slasher picture’s strong suit. The acting ranges from poor to less poor. However, that is more than made up for with particularly inventive kill sequences and some highly imaginative cinematography. The camera angles and viewpoints that Scott Spiegel experiments with are very creative and make the viewer feel like they are a fly on the wall during the series of events that are unfolding. He gives the audience POV shots through the telephone, the floor, and a variety of other clever places.

While there is plenty of violence, there is actually no nudity in Intruder. It would have been a little bit of a stretch to come up with a reason for one of the female characters to take her top off while working in a grocery store. So I’m glad that Scott Spiegel kept it classy. It would have appeared desperate if he’d tried to incorporate some kind of nudity, given the film’s setting.

Intruder is smartly paced: The killing begins at the perfect time (right at the start of the second act) and continues until the very end of the feature. There are some great cat and mouse chase scenes between the killer and the final girl. The ending is a bit off color, even for a slasher film, but I like that about it. Sometimes an ambiguous ending that doesn’t neatly tie everything up is more enjoyable than an ending of the cookie cutter variety.

Both the DVD and Blu-ray releases of the film are surprisingly absent of any special features. It would be really nice to see the cast and crew sit for an audio commentary and a retrospective featurette. At any rate, Intruder is a fast paced slasher film that features a cast peppered with familiar names, great death sequences, and imaginative camera angles. If it has passed you by, give Intruder a chance.

WICKED RATING: 6/10  [usr 6]

Director(s): Scott Spiegel
Writer(s): Lawrence Bender, Scott Spiegel
Stars: Dan Hicks, David Burns, Elizabeth Cox
Year: 1989
Studio/ Production Co: Beyond Infinity
Budget: $130,000 (estimated)
Language: English
Length: 88 Minutes (Unrated Version)
Sub-Genre: Slasher


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Written by Tyler Doupé
Tyler Doupe' is the managing editor at Wicked Horror. He has previously penned for Fangoria Mag, Rue Morgue Mag, FEARnet, Fandango, ConTV, Ranker, Shock Till You Drop, ChillerTV, ComingSoon, and more. He lives with his husband, his dog, and cat hat(s).
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