After a day making high flying deals on his phone, businessman Kyle Miller (Nicolas Cage) returns to his high security home out in the countryside and greets his wife Sarah (Nicole Kidman) and teenage daughter Avery (Liana Liberato), the latter asking him immediately if she can attend a party that evening. Her mother has ordered her not to go, and Kyle doesn't wish to argue with her so goes along with what she says, leaving Avery with no option but to stomp upstairs complaining of being treated like a child. Later on, she sneaks out - just as someone else breaks in.
Way back in the nineteen-fifties there was a hit Humphrey Bogart movie called The Desperate Hours, which while not quite classic status did prove very influential on the home invasion genre, usually featuring a polite or even complacent family shaken up by a gang of nasty gangsters or ne'erdowells, and a power struggle erupting as the tempers run higher. But Trespass - not to be confused with the 1992 thriller meeting of minds between Ice-T and Ice Cube - was not entirely in the same league as the Bogart flick. Such was the popularity of this style of plot, that it had been remade nearly forty years later, you see.
And the Anthony Hopkins-Mickey RourkeDesperate Hours was far more the template for Trespass, seeing as how both were utterly ridiculous in their like ways. While not as funny as the nineties remake, this little effort did manage to build up its characters into a state of near-hysteria, and by the end there was no "near" about it, with everyone getting their chance to yell their heads off in a prime example of "No, look at meeeee!" acting. What happens is that soon after Avery has made good her escape and gone to a party where she finds a bunch of sleazes only after one thing from her, a new arrival or four shows up dressed as cops and invite themselves in. But whoops, real cops don't wear masks, do they?
What this unlovely lot want is the diamonds in the family safe, but the trouble is for all concerned is that Kyle refuses to open it. He has his reasons, but such was the structure of Karl Gajdusek's script that he kept the audience in the dark about where the story was headed, all the better to spring those twists. Unfortunately this also meant that those twists were by all appearances sprung on the actors, who were going along with whatever director Joel Schumacher demanded of them without any caution about how ludicrous each fresh revelation - often relayed in flashback - would appear. And when those revelations began to contradict one another, the recipe for a complete mess was on the cards.
And yet, and yet, Trespass was guiltily entertaining as if you were not going to take it seriously (and it was practically begging you to laugh) then enjoyment was almost inevitable. The reputation both star Cage and director Schumacher had by this time, after a run of flops at the box office, was obviously not what the producers were banking on as this went to DVD pretty darn fast considering the big names involved (or once big names at any rate), but for those loyal to Cage especially, who had been burned before and would be burned again, they might find the kind of sweatily intense performance here not quite top quality, though oddly amusing. As the leader of the bad guys, Ben Mendelsohn did his best but with everyone taking part eventually settled on shouting as his best bet for getting through this, backed up by some of the most quirk-ridden gangsters in movie history - one smokes crystal meth, another lusts after Sarah, yet another has a syringeful of deadly liquid, but this added to the loopy atmosphere. Trespass wasn't art, that's for sure, but it was fun. Music by David Buckley.
American director and occasional writer who rather unfairly won a reputation as one of the worst in Hollywood when he was really only as good as the material he was given. Starting as a costume designer (working with Woody Allen), he went onto a couple of TV movies - screenwriting Car Wash, Sparkle and The Wiz between them - and then a feature, spoof The Incredible Shrinking Woman. D.C. Cab followed, then a couple of eighties-defining teen hits, St. Elmo's Fire and The Lost Boys, and remake Cousins.
In the nineties, he was offered higher profile movies, including supernatural Flatliners, cult urban nightmare Falling Down, John Grisham adaptations The Client and A Time To Kill, blockbusting camp Batman Forever and the much-maligned Batman & Robin, and grotty 8MM. 1999's Flawless signalled a change to smaller scale works: army drama Tigerland, true life tale Veronica Guerin and thriller Phone Booth. Lavish musical The Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber was a Lost Boys fan) was a return to the overblown blockbusters, but it flopped, as did his conspiracy thriller The Number 23.