Intruder – Written Movie Review (2020)

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another movie review by EonTalk. Today I have the written review of the new Korean movie <Intruder>. 

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As with nearly all Korean movies, the release of <Intruder> had been delayed due to the ongoing pandemic, and was finally released on June 4th. Originally supposed to come out in March, <Intruder> has definitely built up hype around its release, to say the least. The film was directed by Son Won-Pyung, who I believe had her feature film directorial debut with <Intruder>. She directed several short films prior to <Intruder>. With the main cast of Song Ji-Hyo and Kim Mu-Yeol, and supporting actors of Ye Soo-Jung, Choi Sang-Hoon, Park Min-Ha, and Huh Jun-Seok, amongst others, the film was a mystery thriller revolving around the return of a strange younger sister who went missing 25 years ago. The detailed synopsis of the <Intruder> is as follows.

The synopsis is as follows:
Seo-Jin is an architect who recently lost his wife to a hit-and-run incident. As he tries to get over his loss and move on with this life, he gets the sudden news that his younger sister, Yoo-Jin, who went missing 25 years ago, has returned. While he’s highly suspicious of the sudden return of his sister, everyone else in his family are very welcoming to Yoo-Jin. To make his suspicious instincts grow even further, his family members start to show strange signs a short while after the reappearance of Yoo-Jin. Seo-Jin decides to dig into his unusual sister, and during his investigation, he finds that Yoo-Jin was involved in the incident that took his wife away. As he digs deeper and deeper into his sister, he finds himself in more and more puzzling circumstances. 


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The Good

First, I enjoyed that <Intruder> gave a strange, mild sense of suspense straight from the get go. Right from the start, you can feel something off about both Song Ji-Hyo and Kim Mu-Yeol’s characters, and as you continue to watch, you find yourself constantly trying to figure out which of the two is the weird one. With Sony Ji-Hyo’s character, Yoo-Jin, she seems too good to be real. With her arrival, the entire family starts to immediately have an attitude shift, which seems highly suspicious, considering they haven’t seen or spoke to this woman in 25 years. Even if she really is the sister/daughter, it’s strange that the family can be so welcoming to a person that’s basically a stranger. And in this sense, Kim Mu-Yeol’s character, Seo-Jin’s, suspicion is justifiable. Who wouldn’t be doubtful of a person who suddenly returned after 25 years, claiming she’s your sister? However, Seo-Jin raises some red flags of his ownl, as he’s not only suffering from the aftermath of losing his wife, but also is taking medication to help him with his own mental issues. In this sense, the movie is good at creating a mysterious and unusual atmosphere.  

Furthermore, the acting by the two main leads, Song Ji-Hyo and Kim Mu-Yeol were good. Song Ji-Hyo’s expressions were freaky AF, just as you can see from the trailers, and Kim Mu-Yeol’s performance was pretty good as well.


The Bad

As mentioned before, the movie does a good job at creating a strange and mysterious vibe in the beginning.  However, the film takes a sudden shift in tone out of nowhere, and after this point, it tries way too hard to be suspenseful. The thrill and suspense seems really forced that it becomes very cheesy, and ultimately the story becomes way too predictable. Furthermore, I believe the trailers are partially to blame for the narrative being predictable. The trailers gave away too much, which allowed the audience to make a prediction of what the movie will be about and how it’ll play out; And it basically flows like the prediction you made prior to going into the movie.

Also, speaking of the story, the narrative is all over the place. You hope that it’ll be able to bring everything back together in the end, and be able to explain and justify everything that took place; but it doesn’t. As mentioned, the movie takes a sudden turn of events, and it does this a couple times. If done right, this can be good, but it wasn’t. The weird turn of events that takes place later on in the movie essentially ruined the story for me, and makes you wonder if that’s what you sat in the theater for for over an hour.

Another complaint I have is the background music the film had. The BGM was over the top and tried too hard to create a suspenseful tone. The music should’ve been more subtle, as you can clearly tell when the background music was on, which made its intention of trying to give a thrilling vibe very cheesy. Moreover, the sound effects, camera movement, and just the overall cinematography all tried too hard to create a freaky atmosphere. 

And finally, the film had lots of logical fallacies. If you see the film, I’m sure you’ll catch these, but I’ll give a few examples. First, a murder scene occurs in a parking lot, but the cops are unable to catch the suspect due to lack of evidence, such as no CCTV camera. However, this makes no sense at all, as there were numerous cars in the parking lot, and nearly all cars in South Korea have black boxes, not to mention fingerprints and the missing button. Also, there’s a scene where a character is unable to get out of the car because the left door has the child-lock on, but just a few scenes later, he’s able to escape the car from the right side door. This makes you wonder, “why didn’t he just get out from the other side from the start?” And finally, the fact that Seo-Jin trusts his doctor friend so much in such a short amount of time. He trusts him so much that he trusts his daughter with him. This makes you think they were friends their entire life, but nope, they weren’t. 


Here’s the thing, building hype for a movie is good to a certain extent. I mean, that’s why the distribution companies create trailers, have social media activities, online and offline events, and other marketing campaigns. However, once you cross the hype threshold, the anticipation actually becomes a negative. The delay and release of more trailers and content due to the delay led <Intruder> to cross that line, ultimately making the audience too excited for the movie and having negative effects. Maybe if I went into the movie with lower expectations, I would’ve enjoyed it more, but the story and progression were too predictable. However, I will say that Song Ji-Hyo and Kim Mu-Yeol’s performances were great, but that’s basically the only thing that you remember after watching.

Ticket Price Value: $7

(Ticket Price Value is the price I would pay to watch the film again for the first time)

What were your thoughts on the movie? Do you agree or disagree with my review? What would your ‘Ticket Price Value’ be? Leave a comment down below!
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Please keep in mind this review is composed of solely my own opinions, and should be taken with a grain of salt. I am in no way a professional writer, nor have I majored or studied journalism. This is for informative entertainment purpose only, representing my personal views. I do not own the images and/or videos used in the review. No copyright infringement intended.

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