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Review: TRESPASSERS (2018)

At the end of my review of Orson Oblowitz’s The Queen of Hollywood Blvd, I noted he had another film, Hell Is Where The Home Is, already completed. Since then, it’s had its title changed to Trespassers, (no connection to the Aussie short Trespassers), and is about to see release. Did he manage to shake up the home invasion genre as successfully as he did the revenge film?

Opening with a prologue involving what appear to be some Mexican cartel goons and an unlucky couple Trespassers, quickly gets into its main story. Sarah (Angela Trimbur, Final Girls, Trash Fire), and her husband Joseph (Zach Avery, You’re Not Alone) have been going through a rough time since she miscarried. They decide to take some time away to try to relax. Sarah invites her bestie Estelle (Janel Parrish, High School Possession, Pretty Little Liars) and her coked-out boyfriend Victor (Jonathan Howard, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Skylines) along for the weekend.

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Things do not go well, however. A woman (Fairuza Balk, The Craft, American History X) turns up claiming to be a neighbour with car trouble. A nasty little secret comes to light. I won’t give it away, but it’s clichéd enough you can probably guess, and things get ugly. Shortly after that, the police in the form of sketchy Sergeant Daniels (Carlo Rota, Trigger Point, Brick Mansions) and his polar opposite partner Ramirez (Sebastian Sozzi, Choke) arrive. And then the cartel goons return…

The first act relies heavily on foreshadowing. Maybe a bit too heavily, as it gives away things that should have been hinted at and suggested. It’s obvious what house this is and why it’s unexpectedly unoccupied. A very familiar car appears and disappears. What should have been suspense fully teased out is handed to us on a silver platter.

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Despite knowing where it’s all going to end up, Trespassers still manages to toss several curves at us along the way. Through the cinematic equivalent of force of will, it rebuilds its suspense. The interplay with the police is brilliantly handled. It ratcheted the tension up and diverted me from what I knew was coming.

When all hell does break loose, it’s with lighting and scoring pulled from classic giallos. If Dario Argento had directed You’re Next or No One Lives it might look something like Trespassers. It makes for a satisfying finish, right down to the unlikely coincidence everything ends up hinging on.

Despite its early missteps, Trespassers delivers an entertaining slice of suspense and carnage. IFC Midnight will release it July 12th in New York, Los Angeles and On Demand.

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