‘The Intruder’: A real estate thriller located in a cul-de-sac of idiocy

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New homeowners (Michael Ealy and Meagan Good) can’t get rid of the former occupant (Dennis Quaid) in “The Intruder.” | Screen Gems

We often talk about how seemingly intelligent, rational people behave like complete idiots in scary movies just so the film doesn’t come to a screeching halt — but “The Intruder” is next-level dopey.

Every single character in this film, including the villain, is irritatingly, maddeningly dumb. Nearly every scene is practically an invitation for the audience to talk back to the screen and ask these people if they’ve lost their minds.

It’s enough to make you wish Thanos would step right out of one of the neighboring screens, snap his fingers for old times’ sake and make this entire movie disappear in a puff of dust.

“The Intruder” stars two gorgeous and likable actors: Michael Ealy, who plays Scott Howard, a creative director with a San Francisco advertising agency, and Meagan Good as Scott’s wife Annie.

Scott and Annie live in a house in San Francisco so lavish it would put a dent in Steph Curry’s pocket — but Annie longs for that country life so they can escape the hustle and bustle, and maybe even start a family.

So, the Howards drive up to Napa Valley and make a return visit to a charming, expansive home in wine country that’s on the market for a mere $3.3 million. (How much is Scott making at the ad agency?)

The “motivated seller” of the estate is a widower and retiree named Charlie Peck, played by Dennis Quaid, whose trademark grin has never been so overplayed and has never carried such obvious nefarious intent. Charlie might as well be wearing a Joker mask.

Before Scott and Annie even get inside, a shotgun blast scares them senseless. They turn around — and there’s Charlie, with that maniacal grin, standing over the deer he’s just shot.

“Welcome to Foxglove!” says Charlie. Foxglove is the name of a poisonous plant growing wild in the woods around the house. What a great name for a family estate!

Charlie seems reluctant to part with the house he’s lived in his entire life — but when Scott threatens to walk away from the deal, Charlie drops the price from $3.3 million to $3.1 million, and the next thing you know, Scott and Annie are moving in.

(By the way, it’s about 70 miles from Foxglove to Charlie’s job in San Francisco, which means Charlie is going to have a brutal commute every day.)

Charlie keeps talking about moving to Florida to live with his daughter — but he’s taken a room in a local motel, and he keeps showing up on the property, often with that shotgun because, after all, anyone can hunt in the woods.

So, the woods surrounding the house are filled with shotgun-toting hunters AND a poisonous plant. Idyllic!

One day, Annie looks out the window — and Charlie has taken the lawnmower and is driving it up and down the lawn, giving it a nice trim. That would be enough for most people to get a restraining order, but as Annie later tells Scott, Charlie DID do a really nice job with the lawn.

A neighbor approaches Scott at the local coffee shop one morning and tells him Charlie’s wife blew her brains out with a shotgun in the house. (Charlie had told them his wife died of cancer.) It was ruled a suicide, says the neighbor, but only because the cops didn’t have enough evidence to charge Charlie.

Back at the house, Scott tells Annie about Charlie’s wife, as they’re standing in the “sewing room,” where the walls appeared to be splattered with dried blood. You’d think those stains might have drawn someone’s attention during the whole appraisal process.

(This is just one aspect of the property that somehow went undiscovered before Scott and Annie moved in. The other surprises are beyond ludicrous.)

Scott believes Charlie has the hots for Annie. Scott doesn’t want Charlie sniffing around the property any more.

But Annie keeps saying Charlie’s just lonely. She invites Charlie to Thanksgiving dinner at his old house. (THAT’S weird.) She accepts Charlie’s offer to help her put up Christmas decorations — the Peck family decorations left behind in the garage. (That’s weird, too.) When Charlie shows up at the house with a pizza while Scott is in the hospital, recovering from a suspicious accident, Annie lets him in the house and opens a bottle of wine to go with the pie.

Annie. You’re not even trying here.

Time and again, “The Intruder” leaves loose ends untied and requires supporting characters, most notably Scott’s best friend Mike (Joseph Sikora), to make irrational decisions when anyone smarter than a cantaloupe would have reacted differently. After numerous cheap scares, e.g., a flash of lightning reveals someone is IN THE HOUSE, STANDING RIGHT THERE, we reach the inevitable, drawn-out, violent confrontation, which ends on a sour note.

Let’s just say if Foxglove goes on the market again, odds are the price will be quite a bit lower this time around.

‘The Intruder’

Zero stars

Screen Gems presents a film directed by Deon Taylor and written by David Loughery. Rated PG-13 (for violence, terror, some sexuality, language and thematic elements). Running time: 101 minutes. Opens Thursday at local theaters.

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