Written by Yang Young Jun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
I had high expectations since it was a commercial movie that I saw in theaters after a long time. Up to the middle part, the movie seems to have fully satisfy such expectations. However, the twist that the film presented as if it was their “secret weapon” ruined everything. This is the story of a movie Intruder.
Intruder is a mystery thriller about what happens when a sister, who went missing 25 years ago, suddenly returns home. Feeling suspicious of his younger sister Yoo Jin, who adapts so quickly as if the years of gap between them were nothing, Seo Jin begins to dig into her secrets and faces a shocking truth. It is the debut feature film of Son Won Pyung, who became the bestselling author with his book Almond. Also, the movie made headlines when Song Ji Hyo and Kim Moo Yeol confirmed their appearances.
Director Son Won Pyung is said to have been inspired by the fear and disharmony that comes when you twist the most common ideas of “home” and “family.” Intruder describes these changes easily. From the interior of the house to the overall atmosphere, everything seems bright and peaceful after Yoo Jin’s return, despite the fact that Seo Jin’s wife died in a hit-and-run accident not long ago. Outwardly, it’s a perfect family.
Now, Yoo Jin had become the “head” of the family, and Seo Jin, who questioned her identity, is now considered “intruder.” Such a change in their positions imbues the suspense in the film. Even the setting of Seo Jin undergoing psychiatric treatment confuses the audience if his suspicions are delusion or if Yoo Jin is really lying. Like mentioned earlier, the early part of the Intruder is quite intense.
Unfortunately, Intruder fails to keep this tension to the end. Director Son Won Pyung is busy inserting his views on “what is family” rather than giving the audience the time to solve the question of “Seo Jin or Yoo Jin, who is telling the truth?” Since the director is only focused on bluntly delivering the messages, the fun of thriller movie is naturally halved.
Furthermore, from the middle part of the film, where Yoo Jin’s identity is slowly revealed, probability starts to decrease rapidly. From the point where viewers can predict the upcoming story, Yoo Jin’s identity is neither important nor curious. Rather, there is a time when answered are needed for “why did Yoo Jin approach?” or “the link between Yoo Jin and Seo Jin’s trauma.” However, with the sudden appearance of a character, who personally explains the questions of Seo Jin and the audience kindly, the already halved suspense disappears entirely, making the audience burst out a laughter.
Yet, the actors’ performances are beyond reproach. Kim Moo Yeol, who played Seo Jin, who shudders with anxiety and pain, and Song Ji Hyo, who made a splendid comeback to thriller film 17 years after Whispering Corridors 3: Wishing Stairs, are exclamatory throughout the movie. However, their acting alone was not enough to fill the big crack created by the director’s greed and lacks shown in the latter half of the movie.
Verdict: A social/culture textbook masked as a thriller movie (5/10)