I’ve been upset with Netflix all summer as the caliber of their material went downhill. Well, downhill is too nice. It’s taken a nosedive.
Maybe it’s due to the Covid-19 pandemic limiting materials. The series I Am Not Okay With This was a victim as it received good reviews from critics and fans but was canceled. There’s always the fourth season of Stranger Things and they acquired Cobra Kai but the third season was meh.
And then there are those awful true-crime docuseries that go on and on and do nothing for four or five hours. They had a hit with Making a Murderer but for the past few years, they’ve stretched out so many true-crime cases you long for a Dateline NBC episode that tells you in the first 10 minutes it’s the spouse and then goes backward to tell everything that happened since the Bronze Age.
Intrusion is another list of the low-bar movies that Netflix has released this year. It’s a glorified Lifetime thriller about a couple, Henry and Meera Parsons (Logan-Marshall Green and Freida Pinto), who have absolutely no chemistry together. Even couples on the verge of splitting up still manage to go through the daily grind. But these two are so unlikeable that I stopped caring early on. They don’t talk like a married couple talk, even one that is going through a rough patch.
They talk like a couple that was set up on a blind double date by their friends and they are trying to talk to each other to make their friends happy.
Basically, what happens, is Meera has rebounded from cancer and they have moved from Boston to BFE New Mexico in some town named Corrales where everyone knows everyone else’s business. One night after having a date night, they come home to discover they’ve been burglarized. They file a report but the detective played by Robert John Burke senses something is wrong while speaking with Henry.
Later, some people break in and Henry retrieves a hidden gun and kills the intruders. Rather than have a nice discussion about getting the fuck away from Corrales for a bit, Henry and Meera argue because he brought a gun into their newly constructed post-modern house. I mean, there’s no telling what the intruders intended to do, but she’s mad about a gun that saved her fucking life.
Then, the detective shows up and says that there’s also a missing girl, Christine Cobb (Mary Elisabeth Kelly) who hasn’t been seen anywhere in a month. Also, all the intruders last names are Cobb. She’s family and the Cobbs live in a trailer park area on the other side of town.
Now, if you know anything about these movies, you know that somehow Henry is involved in all of this. But, you should know that there’s something more than a burglary and a home invasion going on. There’s a reason why Henry doesn’t really like Meera going in his office room. But Meera isn’t too bright because she goes in his office room during a house party and he can see the light.
I won’t spoil the rest but let me just say, there isn’t much originality here. Now, sometimes, a good director and actors can turn a basic unoriginal story into something extraordinary. Take What Lies Beneath. Great comics can tell the most simple jokes and make audiences laugh uncontrollably. Google Norm MacDonald and the moth joke he told on Conan.
But here, what you have is a very boring thriller that pulls out every trope. Pinto tries to do what she can with her role but the character isn’t written well. I liked that little is made about her being from India and married to a white man. But Marshall-Green is horrible as Henry. And where the movie ends up, you really need a good actor in the role.
Once things hopefully calm down with Covid-19, they may go back to making better material. But I feel they’ve had to be forced to take what’s available for the time being. And movies like Intrusion won’t keep them afloat much longer.