Directed by Jack Brame and Zeb Lunz
Starring: Jack Brame, Zeb Lunz and Alexx Brame
Short Film Review by: Annie Vincent
The Intruder, produced by and starring Jack Brame and Zeb Lunz, is billed as an interesting short: Jack, who has recently moved into a new apartment, begins to notice that one or two of his possessions keep moving. He grows increasingly suspicious that someone is breaking in and sets about trying to prove it. The paranoia film is a tried and tested scenario that works well in the short film medium, but it has only succeeded so far in this instance.
The film opens with Jack staring at the wall, not opening the door to his friend Zeb – already something isn’t quite right. Despite them being friends, Jack isn’t exactly chummy with Zeb but the moody insolent teenager isn’t perhaps so unusual a character. As the next couple of days play out, Jack starts to notice little oddities – his clock radio seems to be moving, dust tracks proving his point; his toothbrush has been replaced in the wrong section of the holder; and the camera he sets up to watch his front door captures a slight light change: he’s convinced someone is watching him. Sadly, I’m not sure the audience is.
And this is where the film comes apart at the seams a little – the best paranoia fiction insists that the protagonist could be right all along, forces us to start to believe them, pushing our reasonable doubt to one side, but that doesn’t happen here. We’re all on Zeb’s side – Jack must just be stressed out – and it means the film doesn’t have the intended impact and becomes a little underwhelming. At this point the soundtrack choices are more irritating than enhancing and the close camera work feel amateur, rather than voyeuristic. And with the audio-balancing a little unsettled in places, boredom does start to seep in.
What becomes more interesting though, and rescues The Intruder somewhat, is the last few minutes when Jack caves in to his paranoia. The driving sequence displays some camera talent with a range of action shots and Jack’s vision is genuinely unsettling no matter how many times it is used and the audience will feel for this boy, who really does need some help. Jack Brame (Jack) does deliver a passable performance as the paranoid teen, though he delivers this much more convincingly in his action sequences than in dialogue; the conversation with his sister at the end being particularly awkward to watch.
There are definitely engaging elements to The Intruder; but I think it probably needed a little more time to decide what it wanted to be.