Director: Scott Spiegel
Year of release: 1989
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 83 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: Both
Also known as: Night Crew: The Final Checkout, Nerve Endings and Blood Night
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: Often touted as the last great slasher film of the eighties Intruder is set in a supermarket where the staff are working through the night to reprice all of the stock for an upcoming sale. The two owners soon reveal that they are reluctantly going to have to sell the store due to plummeting profits so the workers are informed they are all soon to lose their jobs. One of these unfortunate individuals is a girl called Jennifer who works on the checkouts. Adding to her woes is the unwanted arrival of her ex boyfriend Craig who puts in an appearance at the store making a nuisance of himself wanting her back. Craig is something of a hot head and a dangerous man having recently come out of prison after serving time for manslaughter. Upon being rebuffed by Jennifer things turn violent and Craig is eventually kicked out of the store so that the staff can continue their work into the night in peace. Shortly after however people begin getting killed off in gruesome fashion by someone unseen. Though all signs point to Craig being responsible we are left guessing up until towards the end as to who is behind the slayings.
Good points: The supermarket/food store makes for a really cool original setting . It is certainly unique and actually a bit claustrophobic at times providing a maze of aisles for the killer to stalk. Then of course we have the darker backstage area such as the stock rooms and food preparation areas which also make for good backdrops for the violence.
There are some excellent special effects on show throughout which make for some very over the top brutal death scenes. Despite not having a particularly big budget to work with things still look great in this area and much of the fun you'll have with the film will come from the nasty ways people meet their ends. Gore fans will be more than satisfied.
Without giving away any spoilers the ending isn't typical at all and goes in quite a different direction than most other horror films. Credit to the filmmakers for having the guts to do something a little different from what we usually see.
There are some recognisable faces in the cast with Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell both being onboard. The extent of Bruce's role is restricted to a shortish appearance at the end though so anyone going in to the film thinking he has a big part would perhaps be disappointed.
The cast is largely male so as such most of those killed are young men which I always find to be a bit of a refreshing change as on the whole is more common to see female victims in the genre.
Bad Points: Near the start there is an extremely bad fight scene which is nothing short of embarrassing. It is so bad it almost plays out like a really old Batman episode or something with cartoon like sound effects. Needless to say this kind of thing only gets worse with age and looks incredibly dated when seen now. It is one of those things where you just have to shake your head at how bad it is.
On top of the awful fight scene mentioned above the film as a whole has a kind of zany over the top silly vibe to it which I personally didn't care for. The way the killer acts once he is revealed towards the end is a bit much for me for example and I also thought the cops who arrived to check on the place fairly early on were acting too silly to the point of being unbelievable and unrealistic.
Although I liked that it had a mainly male cast many of the young male store workers were too under developed with not much effort put into any of them and we didn't have much reason to care about them when they were in trouble. They all just seemed to blend into one for me and were interchangeable. There was one point I remember where a corpse is discovered and I couldn't even place who it was supposed to be so forgettable were some of the characters.
This is a very minor nitpick but a few times we had random body parts showing up in odd places presumably put there by the killer but it isn't really clear who they belong to. We see an eye in a pickle jar, feet in a toilet stall and a hand in the lobster tank. Nice ways of making use of the location of the store yes but it would have been much better if we had actually seen them being pulled or cut from the bodies so we could see clearly from which character they originated.
Although there is mystery surrounding the killer up until the end once revealed there is no effort at all made in regards to costume or mask which is usually a negative thing for me. At least there is a bit of guess work involved though up until the climax so the lack of effort with appearance didn't bother me here as much as it does in certain other slashers.
Verdict: A pretty solid outing which is fun to watch once it gets going after a bit of a rocky start. The two main reasons to watch I'd say would be the location of the store itself which has more personality than many of the characters and the gore effects which are impressive throughout. If watching for the first time be careful of buying the 88 films version blu ray as the cover art itself contains a bit of a spoiler.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1) Linda: Killed in the car park, mainly unseen as the camera cuts away.
2) Store owner #1: Eye impaled on some sort of spike in his office. Later decapitated.
3) Produce Joe: Stabbed in the back of the head with a cleaver.
4) Male worker: Stabbed in stomach by pile of soda cans.
5) Male worker: Has head crushed by some sort of heavy machinery.
6) Randy: Impaled on a meat hook.
7) Male worker (love interest to Jennifer): Head cut in half with a band saw.
8) Delivery man: Stabbed from behind as he looks through the door.