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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Review: The Occupant (Hogar)

Director: David Pastor and Álex Pastor
Screenplay: David Pastor and Álex Pastor
Year: 2020

What are you willing to do to reach and maintain yourself on the higher levels of society? This is a recurring topic in cinema and in the past months, there have been three movies that have found their way into the thriller and horror genres that have garnered attention with it. “The Occupant” (“Hogar”) is the most recent to get into this list led by “Parasite” and “The Platform” (“El Hoyo”), this last one also a Spanish movie.

Javier Muñoz is a successful publicist who leaves his well-paying job to seek new opportunities. His work is known by many agencies, but still, his job hunt doesn’t go as well as he expected. Soon he has to leave his luxurious apartment by not being able to afford it and is forced to assume a modest lifestyle away from the luxuries he has grown accustomed to, something that he is not willing to accept and that he will do whatever is necessary to recover. 

Javier starts roaming around the apartment where he used to live with his family until he decides to break in and use it as if it was still his while the occupants are not home. Inside the apartment, he starts discovering details about the new family that lives there and starts developing a plan to get himself into their family nucleus. While he is trying to get into this new family, he starts creating friction with his own family. 

The co-directors and co-writers David and Álex Pastor (“Carriers”) don’t wait much since the start of “The Occupant” to raise the tension to the maximum and keep it that way for the rest of the movie. The rich cinematography is one of its strongest weapons to exemplify the differences between social classes that is reminiscent of “Parasite” and that combined with the tense composition in the soundtrack makes it impossible for the viewer to relax. The elaborate plan of the protagonist and the way it is revealed little by little inside the intriguing story are the summit of how the tension is crafted and how its rhythm keeps the viewers fixed without blinking, although the way in which some information is exposed is slightly forced.

The cast of “The Occupant” is top-notch in Spanish cinema and it is shown through their work in this movie. The protagonist Javier Gutiérrez (“Assassin’s Creed”) does a phenomenal job managing to transmit a psychopathic, disturbing, and menacing feel that reminds of the work of Anthony Hopkins in “The Silence of the Lambs”. Along with him, the protagonist cast is completed with Mario Casas (“Witching and Bitching”), Bruna Cusí (“Uncertain Glory”), and Ruth Díaz (“The Fury of a Patient Man”), all of them able to transmit the emotion of their characters and the situations around them, which exposes their talent as actors and the work of the directors. 

“The Occupant” is an excellent psychological thriller that explores what someone is capable of doing to avoid losing its social status and the luxuries and conveniences that it has grown accustomed to. The rich cinematography and the acting complement a plot that is as interesting as it is disturbing that leads the viewer through the twisted reality of a man with a hurt ego and which goal turns him into a psychopath. “The Occupant” creates a stimulating and menacing ambient that undoubtedly is anxiety-inducing and that captures the viewer’s attention.

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