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Film Review: Josh's Review of TRESPASSERS (2018)

TRESPASSERS (2018): IFC Midnight Films

Starring: Angela Trimbur, Zach Avery, Janel Parrish, Jonathan Howard, and Fairuza Balk. Directed by: Orson Oblowitz

One sub-genre that has continued to develop within the horror genre is that of "the home invasion movie." The basic premise being: What could be more frightening than someone coming into your lovely house and turning it into a place of nightmares? However, what happens when the house, in question, is a rental and the characters - residing in it - find themselves in the unfortunate circumstance of just being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Well, this is intriguing prospect presented to you as the viewer in TRESPASSERS.

Directed by Orson Oblowitz, the film introduces you to a pair of young couples, Sarah & Joseph (played by Angela Trimbur and Zach Avery, respectfully), and their friends, Estelle and Victor (played by Janel Parrish and Jonathan Howard), who, in an effort to get away from the stress of their lives and relive some of the good times in college, together decide to rent a quiet, but picturesque house out in the California desert. As the movie progresses, the couples' revelry is interrupted when a late night visitor arrives at the front door. Known only as 'The Visitor' (Fairuza Balk), the woman asks the said couples if she can use their house phone - as her car is broken down and her phone is without service. As you would expect, they agree to let the Visitor use the phone; however, instead of calling to have her car towed, the Visitor calls three masked individuals to inform them that it's time to invade the house.

As I explain the setup of this film, you'll probably notice that this film shares a lot of similarities to films like 2008's THE STRANGERS, 2013's THE PURGE or even 1971's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE; therefore on the surface you might think that there's nothing really new in the story here; however, despite its similarities to the movies mentioned above, screenwriter Corey Deshon offers some really good twists. Likewise, filmmaker Orson Oblowitz, who is known for his work as a cinematographer, makes great use of the natural landscape and lighting available to him. More specifically, instead of using darker or more muted lighting, Oblowitz takes a 'more-is-more' style throughout the film - which allows the audience get a better look at what's happening to the characters. Additionally, unlike most of the home-invasion movies that are mentioned here, these Invaders don't dress as nicely or put as much thought into their masks as their contemporaries do in similar films. The killers in THE PURGE and YOU'RE NEXT, for example, seem more white collar in their appearance & approach - wearing nice clothes, in contrast to their creepy masks. The Invaders in TRESPASSERS, conversely, dress more practically (i.e. in torn jeans and hoodies with hand painted skull masks). This blue collar approach to the Invaders complements their sadistic intentions - that of people who could care less about how they look and more about the pain that they can inflict.

All in all, while the story itself, along the characters that inhabit it, may not be completely original, Deshon's story twists, coupled with Oblowitz's fresh and visually engaging style, allows TRESPASSERS to still be a fun Friday night movie viewing experience, with plenty of chills to keep a horror fan interested.

Overall grade: B-.

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