The overnight staff of a grocery store find themselves
being stalked and killed by a mysterious maniac.
Written and Directed by Scott Spiegel
Starring Elizabeth Cox, Renee Estevez, Danny Hicks,
Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, David Byrnes, Eugene Glazer,
Billy Marti, Burr Steers, Bruce Campbell
What happens when you take the crew that wrote, produced, acted, and directed the Evil Dead movies and turn them loose in a slasher movie? You get Intruder, one of the only horror movies set in a grocery store (aside from The Mist) that has a nice whodunit angle to add a slight tweak to the slasher formula that had gone stale at this point. Have we seen this type of movie before? Yes, but have we seen it set amidst the aisles of the everyday supermarket? I think not.
Welcome to the Walnut Lake Market (the location of the film and the neighborhood that Campbell, Spiegel, and the Raimi brothers grew up in), a small locally owned grocery store where we meet Jennifer (Cox), Linda (Estevez), Danny (Glazer), Randy (Sam Raimi), Dave (Marti), Produce Joe (Ted Raimi), and manager Bill (Hicks). They are all on the night shift where to stock the shelves after closing to set up for the next morning. I briefly (3 weeks) had this job during my early 20's and it was one of the most boring and interesting times of my life. Having never seen the ins and outs of the grocery store biz, I was interested to see how those shelves magically stuffed themselves and learned the art of blocking (making the shelves appear full when, in fact, they may not be). I even got to use a cardboard compactor which I immediately recognized after watching this movie. There are interesting characters that work the night shift of any place but the grocery store is something else. I once watched two grown men play chicken with the rascal carts that old/obese people use during one break...anything to kill the boredom.
During this particular night shift, the crew finds out that the store is going to be sold at the end of the month to the city and all of the employees will be losing their jobs. The one most affected by this is Bill as he is not only part owner of the store, it has been part of his life for the last ten years. To add to this terrible news, Jennifer's boyfriend Craig (Byrnes) is out of jail and looking to reconcile with her. He gets into a fight with pretty much every guy in the store eventually getting run out the door by Bill. He vows to come back and threatening phone calls to Jennifer from Craig ensue: he's not giving up.
The set up for the remainder of the flick has been laid out and we are treated to POV shots of someone killing employees off one by one in increasingly brutal ways (shout out to KNB effects for really bringing it). The poster for this film gives away the end result of one of them but let's just say it involves a band saw. Who knew they used band saws in grocery stores? I did and they use them to cut beef for steaks or ribs when they're frozen. This is where, I think, Intruder really shines in fully embracing the mystery aspect about the identity of the killer and using the camera as a way of taking the audience along with the murderer as they pick their way through the staff. Another standout is just the spirit with which this film came together as you can see that this was done with passion, and knowing who it came from lets you know you're in for a good time. This doesn't get the love it should and I recommend this one to any fan of slashers who thinks they've seen 'em all, you owe to yourself to watch Intruder. You'll never look at the supermarket the same way again.