Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Title:The Uncertain Guest [El Habitante Incierto]
Cast: Andoni Gracia, Mónica López, Francesc Garrido, Agustí Villaronga, Minnie Marx, Pere Abello, Fina Rius, Xènia Gausa
Director:Guillem Morales

Félix is an architect and he has converted an old house to meet his vision, but in the time that has taken he has become estranged from his girlfriend. She has moved out, though the house is still cluttered with her stuff. The house makes all kinds of noises, but Félix never notices those, until one night a stranger comes to the door. The stranger asks to use his phone, explains it’s an emergency. Reluctantly Félix agrees, and when pushed he waits in the kitchen giving the man privacy. Félix is stressed out by everything that has been going on, edgy and uncomfortable with a stranger in the house, he storms back through to see what is taking the man so long. The stranger is gone.

Did the stranger leave? Or is he hiding somewhere in Félix's large old house? Félix lies awake in bed, listening to every sound the house makes, convinced that there is a stranger in here with him. He jumps at shadows, phones the police to report them, persuades his ex to humour him and spend the night. Nothing helps, there is no firm evidence that there is anyone in the house, but Félix is increasingly unstable regardless. Reaching a crisis point, things get messy; Félix flees the house, sleeps in the car, convinced that he has trapped someone in there. But from here, the tables are turned.

The Uncertain Guest played as part of the annual Spanish Film festival in the UK. The film is mixed, by turns tense and atmospheric thriller followed by absurd comedy. The viewer should be able to work out certain things as they happen, but that only adds a weight to the film's climax. Knowing that it is only a matter of time, the comic material becomes increasingly creepy and soon enough the horror is revealed. An enjoyable and well done work - small cast and understated setting pulled off for strongest effect.

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