LFF 2020 – The Intruder (2020) Review

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Voice actress and singer Inés starts to suffer from intense nightmares following a traumatic event. She’s not helped by the creepy sounds that appear on her voiceover recordings. One of her colleagues believes she could be carrying an ‘intruder’.

Adapted from C.E. Feiling’s cult novel El Mal Menor, Natalie Meta was inspired by the Giallo genre to craft her thriller around paranoia and possession.

With the main character’s career in sound recording for films, plus not being able to trust what is real and what is fiction, it is easy to draw parallels with 2012’s Berberian Sound Studio.

Whereas that film had a very clear vision, The Intruder never fully leans in or commits to its Giallo influences.

The term Giallo derives from Italian pulp mystery novels but since the 60s & 70s has become synonomous with the horror genre. Often used to refer to gaudy, gruesome exploitative murder mysteries.

There is a mystery at the heart of Ines’ trauma. With the help of her sound editor, she attempts to find the source of the mysterious sound that has attached itself to her. Increasingly haunted by vivid waking nightmares, her only grips on reality come in the form of her doting mother and a burgeoning relationship with a church organist.

Érica Rivas (Wild Tales) does an admirable job of portraying a woman on the point of breaking from reality. She is aided by strong sound mixing and editing that puts the audience into her fragile state of mind. Second guessing every sound or auditory reaction.

Unfortunately there is a real absence of insidiousness with the intentions of the “intruder” unclear. As a result, it lacks the threat required to inspire that feeling of fear and dread.

Similar to a dubbing over the original track, The Intruder is an unwelcome and pale imitation of the genre it tried to evoke.

Film Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Director: Natalie Meta
Stars: Érica Rivas, Nahuel Perez Biscayart, Daniel Hendler
Runtime: 95 minutes
Country: Argentina/Mexico

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