No place is sacred anymore. I’m writing this from under my blanket after hearing a noise in the other room. Just when you thought it was safe to be at home, we get another home invasion horror/thriller to remind you that you’re never really alone. Deon Taylor’s latest film, The Intruder, follows happily married couple Annie (Meagan Good) and Scott (Michael Ealy) as they take the next step in their relationship and move into the country to start their family. They buy charming Charlie’s (Dennis Quaid) childhood home, but the caveat is that he apparently has no intentions of leaving.
There are several callbacks to popular thrillers and even an homage or two to famous horror films. We sit down with director Deon Taylor and actress Meagan Good (also from this year’s crowd-pleasurer Shazam!) to talk about their film inspirations, getting into character, and working with an apparently kinky Dennis Quaid.
The Intruder has more than a few nostalgic horror/thriller qualities that almost makes it feel like a throwback. What were some of your influences when making the film?
Deon Taylor: I would say everything from the early ‘80s into the ‘90s was inspiration for me, in terms of horror. I especially love things that are mixed with horror and comedy. Films like Gremlins, Pet Sematary, and Phantasm are a few of my favorites. I’ll even throw you a curveball: The Toxic Avenger. You’ve probably never heard of that one, but those are films that I grew up on and I was always fascinated by the fact that they were scary, but funny, like, “What is that?”
Did any past performances from actresses or their characters help inspire your character?
Meagan Good: Being a little kid, seeing Halloween 4 and 5 was really one of the main movies that made me want to be an actress. I wanted to be that little girl, she was 10 and I was 9 at the time. I just thought it was such an incredible genre where everything was heightened. Even as I’ve gotten older, it’s still one of my favorite genres, especially one of my favorite genres to act in. You don’t get to go to that place often in life, hopefully. That heightened feeling of fighting for survival is something you don’t really get to feel in any other type of film, and that’s why I love doing it.
The Intruder does deal with some hard topics like gaslighting, toxic masculinity and sexual assault. How much preparation did it take to get into that character’s headspace?
MG: I do case studies and I do my research, but ultimately, it comes down to really being me in the moment and believing what I am experiencing as much as possible. Yes, preparation goes into it, but it’s also organic and authentic to the moment.
How hard was that, especially with Dennis Quaid basically giving you a tongue bath at one point?
MG: I joke because by the time I had finished that one scene, I had been choked to the point where the safe word did not work, I had been bitten, and he [Quaid] asked me to spit on him.
That sounds like a different kind of movie entirely.
DT: Like it was on Pornhub or something.
MG: Oh, wow. Good point. But it was great because we just went for it. Deon brought up early on that he wanted us to watch the scene from Fatal Attraction where Glenn Close and Michael Douglas had this love scene where she had her hand in the sink and then she started wiping the water on their faces while they were making out. Deon wanted us to have that creativity and freedom and see whatever happens because that’s when the magic happens. So as Dennis and I are doing our scene, he whispers to me, “Spit on me.” I was like, “I’m going to act like he didn’t say that.” So as we kept doing the scene, he said it again, with a little more voice. I’m just like, “Oh my God, what is happening?” Now just imagine Deon in the room watching the camera yelling, “Spit on him!” So I just end up doing something light, but Dennis is like, “No, get a good one!” So I did it, and it was cool because that type of freedom allowed us to see what worked and how to make it as creepy as possible.
DT: And, of course, the rating board saw that and were like, “Hey man, you can’t do that.” But we still got it in the film!