Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Review: The Occupant

Release date: March 25, 2020
Running time: 103 minutes
Starring:  Javier Gutiérrez, Mario Casas, Bruna Cusí

The Occupant is a new thriller about a previously successful and cunning man who has recently fallen on bad times.  Although he still tries to maintain an appearance of success, it slowly unravels around him.  Now, forced to deal with the reality of his situation, he has to move out of his beloved apartment.  But when he realizes he still has the keys to his apartment and can still go there during the day, he begins a scheme to reclaim his old life.  

Although the description made it sound like a a standard horror film, the Occupant is a really good movie.  It is less a horror movie and more a thriller, which really looks into the schemes of Javier (Gutiérrez).  This film spends a great deal of time setting up Javier's character and really showing the depths that he has sunk to from his past success.  It is a very long build up, but it is so worth it.  Part of this is because of Gutiérrez's phenomenal acting; he really does a great job of personifying Javier's character and subtly playing all the parties around him.  He is caring when he needs to be, defiant when it calls for it, and downright cunning when he wants to get his way.  The rest of the cast is very good, with solid performances all around, especially from Javier's friend Tomás (Casas).  But Javier spends a lot of time alone and so, forcing Gutiérrez to carry much of the film on his own.  

One of the things I love about this movie is that it is a horror / thriller but without the gore that you would normally expect from the genre.  It is refreshing to see something like this, with a feeling of dread but more for the psychological aspect rather than blood and guts.  In that respect, this movie is similar to Parasite; a thriller with good acting but without the typical tropes that you would expect.  If there is one critique of this film, it is that it is fairly macho-focused.  Javier is clever and tries to manipulate all, but no one really puts up a fight against him.  And the women in the movie are more pawns than independent, strong characters.  But that being said, this is a fantastic film with a strong performance and concept.

The Occupant has a stellar performance from its lead, who drives an exciting, different thriller with a strong story and interesting characters.

Watch it

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