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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Review: Trespassers

Director: Orson Oblowitz
Screenplay: Corey Deshon
Year: 2019

Synopsis: Two young couples rent a luxurious house in the desert to spend a weekend. This weekend turns in the worst of their lives when tension among them escalates and worsens once they receive an unexpected visit.

With the purpose to give their relationship a fresh start after suffering an abortion, Sarah and Joseph decide to go to a remote house in the desert to spend the weekend. Sarah invites her best friend Estelle, who also invites her boyfriend, an abusive and borderline psychopath that seems to feed exclusively on cocaine. Discomfort from all of them is just a minor problem compared with what they will go through that night. 

The initial scene shows how two photojournalists are kidnapped and murdered by a group of what seems to be Mexican mobsters. A little bit of attention to this scene reveals that these photojournalists have some sort of accusatory evidence about this group. A bit further down we see Sarah and Joseph, interpreted by Angela Trimbur (“The Final Girls”) and Zach Avery (“The White Crow”), respectively, arrive at the same house where the photojournalists were kidnapped, which they have rented for the weekend and we start suspecting that their efforts to work on their marriage will be interrupted.

The first interruption comes in the form of Sarah’s best friend Estelle, and her boyfriend Victor, interpreted by Janel Parrish (“Pretty Little Liars”) and Jonathan Howard (“Godzilla: King of the Monsters”), respectively. The dynamic between the two couples is uncomfortable and part is because of Victor’s behavior and his excessive use of drugs, as well as from some secrets that exist among them. The tension between them keeps escalating and is evident that the weekend would not be a pleasant one. The second interruption comes in the form of an old lady who arrives at the house asking for help after her car broke down. Victor becomes paranoid, in part thanks to the drugs and alcohol, and since there things take an unexpected turn.

Since Victor shows on screen, he is the stereotypical abusive asshole and he makes you hate him in record time. The rest of the characters also suffer from being too stereotypical and their personalities are just what is needed to push the story. The characters are developed fairly good and the actors do a good job, but this doesn't help in getting the characters from the stereotype zone.

The screenplay develops to main topics: a home invasion from part of a gang, which we saw in the first scene, and the dynamics between these two couples. The first topic is forgotten after this scene, and while there are signs of it in some parts, this is not brought back until late in the movie and the rest is dedicated to developing the issues between Sarah and Joseph and how this weekend is going downhill. When the home invasion topic is retaken, a few strings can be attached that put the whole story together and at the same time turns into an intense gorefest with a few creative deaths.

I don’t know if the intention of director Orson Oblowitz (“The Queen of Hollywood Blvd”) and screenwriter Corey Deshon (“Shine”) is to avoid the home invasion topic and start creating tension with the relationship of the protagonists to later have a stronger reaction when returning to the invasion or if it’s simply a badly written script. On my part, I lean towards the former theory as it is how I felt while watching the movie and I felt it was an effective way of creating tension. The problems of the screenplay lie in the construction of the characters, that is not grave, and that it superficially touch a controverted topic in the United States as immigration which later has no importance in the plot. 

“Trespassers” takes a new twist on the home invasion genre and brings a story that feels fresh at the same time as it feels like something we have seen many times. The basis of the plot and the twists give it that fresh air, but the stereotypical characters and the ending leads it to that unoriginal area. In a subgenre that after the release of “The Strangers” has been saturated, it manages to put itself above the average, without being something phenomenal. The tension, twists, and gore are enough argument to enjoy this movie.

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