Review by James Lindorf
Husband and wife, Sarah and Joseph, are struggling as individuals and as a couple after a recent tragedy. To take their minds off their troubles, they head to Mojave, California, for a sex and drug-fueled weekend. Joining in on the fun is Sarah’s long-time best friend Estelle, and her boyfriend, Victor. Tension among the group begins to grow as their debaucherous night continues, and things take an unexpected turn with the arrival of a strange woman in search of help for a broken-down car. As more uninvited guests find themselves at the group’s front door, the body count starts to pile up. Trespassers was directed by Ordon Oblowitz, from a screenplay by Corey Deshon and starred Angela Trimbur (The Final Girls), Janel Parrish (Pretty Little Liars), Zach Avery (Curvature), Jonathan Howard (Thor: The Dark World) and Fairuza Balk (The Craft). IFC Midnight will bring Trespassers to theaters in New York and L.A. July 12th, as well as releasing it On Demand the same day.
Oblowitz and cinematographer Noah Rosenthal partnered to create a very sleek film that looks like it could be coming from any major Hollywood studio. The majority of the kills are filmed in a way to maximize impact but reduce the need for practical or special effects. The excellent look is served well by a main cast that is above average when compared to other independent horror films. Angela Trimbur is very good as Sarah, who is trying her best to claw her way back to a sense of normality with despair just below the surface. When danger arrives at her doorstep, she continues a more literal fight for her life.
For a large portion of the film, the most significant danger is Jonathan Howard’s Victor, as the embodiment of toxic masculinity. He is overly aggressive towards everyone and believes woman are better seen and not heard. When things begin to spiral out of control, Victor is quick to jump to the conclusion that he will be blamed. To prevent that, everyone will have to do what he says to make it through the night. The late arrivals rescue the trio from Victor’s bullying, but it isn’t long before they realize they have moved from the frying pan to the fire.
With the success of home invasion horror films, it is getting harder to do something genuinely original. There are many elements of the 2008 film The Strangers here, but Trespassers sets itself apart by giving more motivation to its invaders and background to its victims. Trespassers is a fine movie in most regards and could make some viewers think twice the next time they plan to rent out someone else’s home. However, some poor music choices and a lack of originality will doom Trespassers to obscurity.