Review: TRESPASSERS Outstays Its Welcome

FIRST IMPRESSION

Trespassers has the potential to be awesome, but instead, what we get is a generic and disappointing home invasion thriller.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Trespassers, written by Corey Deshon and directed Orson Oblowitz, hopes to be a neon-soaked, desert-set horror-thriller akin to last year’s Revenge. Unfortunately, the film fails in this regard, providing little more than a generic and largely unsatisfying attempt at splatter horror.

The story of this movie isn’t particularly coherent, and herein lies its biggest issue. Had the film simply been generic and trope-laden, it could have sufficed as mindless entertainment. However, since the movie fails to tie its narrative threads together in any logical or cohesive way, the result is frequently frustrating and never lives up to its potential.

One of the most frustrating things about the film is that the antagonists are little more than generic bad guys. The cold open makes it appear as if the movie is going to have something new and unique to say, but that never really comes back into play, as the film quickly shifts to having the most plain protagonists you could imagine. Perhaps the point of the movie is to return to the old-school idea of the killers “punishing” the sinners, but even so, this is not particularly effective.

The protagonists aren’t much more interesting than the antagonists. Granted, at least the protagonist do break their archetypes every once in a while, but more often than not, they are simply annoying. The two dysfunctional couples at the center of the film don’t have a believable or compelling dynamic and, quite frankly, are terrible people. It’s hard to get behind people like this who are making such terrible and selfish decisions over the course of the movie.

trespassers neon
Janel Parrish as “Estelle” in Orson Oblowitz’s Trespassers. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Midnight Release.

The only memorable performance in the film comes from Carlo Rota. Rota seems to be the only person in the ensemble who embraces the inherent campiness of the script and has fun with it. Everyone else in the cast seems to be deadly serious, and it doesn’t work. Even Fairuza Balk, whose role as the mysterious visitor leaves the door wide open for something fun and weird feels criminally underused.

Perhaps the only thing about this film that is truly noteworthy is the gore. The kills are pretty creative in a demented way and will satisfy anyone who watches the movie craving some blood and guts. However, it takes far too long for the script to get to this gnarly section, a majority of the first half of the film being spent on boring melodrama.

On a technical level, the movie shows a ton of potential, but it is unfortunately never able to deliver. Despite having a beautiful desert setting, the filmmakers never use it to create a feeling of isolationism. For a majority of the film, we are stuck indoors in a house that isn’t particularly aesthetically-appealing. Additionally, the movie doesn’t use its color scheme for anything more than style, failing to use it to build tone or suspense.

Trespassers could have been a ton of fun, but instead its an overly sexualized and disappointingly bland home invasion thriller. All of the elements are there for success — they just aren’t utilized properly.

Trespassers hits theaters and VOD on July 12.

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Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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