I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to see this incomplete, unreleased Australian film from the early nineties, which was directed by MUFF founder Richard Wolstencroft which screened at MUFF. The film was never completed due to Boulevard Films going belly up during production so Richard gave us the opportunity to take a look at the film in its unmixed, work print state. There was no music or no sound effects, just footage from the film edited together in chronological order, only very roughly. It didn’t bother me because I have wanted to see this abandoned footage for a long time as I am a fan of Richard’s work.
The Intruder begins with a dinner party consisting of two couples who have a typical conversation between friends. Robert (Paul Moder) discusses the concept of animal instincts in humans and how you can never rid yourself of such a thing; the only thing you can do is exhaust it and that is the way to control yourself. A short while later Vicki (Tottie Goldsmith) and Rick leave the dinner party and return home in a taxi. Upon returning home, their house has been broken into and vandalised only nothing is missing. The police show up but there is little they can do. Rick and Vicky retire to the bedroom where they enjoy the forbidden fruits of their marriage. The couple are interrupted by a mysterious Intruder (Lachey Hulme) who brandishes a sawn-off shot gun and begins to terrorize them. The Intruder forces the husband Rick to fellate him at gunpoint while his wife Vicky watches on in terror and following this; The Intruder lays Vicky out and then sexually assaults her. With her husband’s whereabouts unknown upon awakening, Vicky’s home is now her personal prison where her cellmate is none other than The Intruder himself.
The film shows that decent suspense can be created without score, with the help of a perfectly lit setting and some classy direction considering the source material was not that workable. Wolstencroft’s youthful (he was 22 when it was shot) enthusiasm to do what he loves which is making films does come through which I think is great bearing in mind that he probably had his reservations about the film in the first place. He was hungry to make films and that is what turned this mediocre idea into something with a little more spirit than the script had in writing.
The performances were average all around with probably the best performance coming in from Paul Moder who was probably the least trained actor in the cast. Lachey Hulme’s performance was less than average at best. He started out in pretty good form but as the film went on he just became very intolerable and obnoxious beyond the demands of his role. Tottie Goldsmith was just average, not putting too much effort into her role but makes up for that with sheer power of lust. Ultimately the script was trite and loaded with cliché after cliché and I just don’t understand how it could have looked good on paper.
This was a gun-for-hire job for Wolstencroft who suffers with the bland material, but all the same I am delighted to have seen it for myself. I think it would be great for the film to be edited and mixed and possibly released after all these years as now some of the cast such as Moder (Razor Eaters) and particularly Hulme (The Matrix Revolutions) are better known to the film world and it would be a point of interest to see their early performances.
The work print presentation of the film did not lose it any points in this review, I rated it as if everything were in place as I have a vivid imagination (not that you need one here) and mentally placed all the things missing from the film back into it.