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El Habitante Incierto (The Uncertain Guest)

Film Three Stars

What a great premise, the idea that someone could live in your house without anyone else knowing, not even the owner.

The first half of the film explores this to great effect. The use of sound is superbly done, indeed there's not a great deal of dialogue during many of these scenes, and we rely on sound and imagery to create unease, tension and that overriding feeling that someone is there.

The great thing about this is that throughout the film we remain unaware if there is someone in the house or not. Sometimes we see and hear things that show us there must be, and then we get the opposite. It manages to keep us unsure and guessing as to the truth.

ElHabitanteIncierto.jpgThis builds to a surprising climax, and nicely closes a section of the film, and with a lovely transition we start to forget the past and move onto the next section.

There's a great use of scares and the filmmakers show a strong understanding of how to build tension . This is especially seen in this latter half when the film reverses its viewpoint and we see the side of the uninvited guest. Tension is built by exploring how someone could hide away for so long

This half starts off quite light with some comic value coming out of the story, in a way it helps the audience to forget the events of the past act. There are even a few touching and tender moments between the characters.

However slowly it begins to turn darker, and from originally finding the situation amusing, we start to understand the pain that the owner is suffering.

As the film turns darker it also begins to return to the life of the main character, and becomes even darker.

The female lead, Mónica López, is strong but it's the lead actor, Andoni Gracia, that gives the best performance here, and when he's in an extreme situation of emotion is when we see his best. However there are some baffling choices from his character and occasionally you will find yourself wondering why he's doing what he is.

The ending, although a great idea to complete the story, is somewhat confused. This has the effect of you concentrating on the confusing scenes prior to the ending rather than the powerful closing scenes. I did feel like this diluted the power of it somewhat.

Overall it's very well filmed and created, there are moments that could have used more explanation, and some character choices that could have been smoothed out, but for the most part it's an excellent story that has been developed well for the screen.


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