The latest in Spanish film-making to arrive on Netflix is new thriller, The Occupant. Directed by brothers David & Àlex Pastor the film follows an advertising executive, Javier, who’s struggling to find work. His sudden loss of income forces him to move himself and his family to a more affordable home. Javier struggles to let go of his old life and when new tenants move into his previous home this only becomes more difficult for him to deal with.
The Occupant is in no rush to thrill its audience, instead it takes a very measured approach to introducing its characters and the context of this story. For some this slower beginning might be off-putting. However this more subdued start is necessary for the business end of the film to prove so effective. This narrative goes to some really dark places and for the most part it is quite a twisted story, but one that is easy to become invested in. The second half of the film is definitely more engaging but it rewards audiences who have devoted their attention during the first. There are several great sequences of suspense and tension scattered throughout the picture but there is the potential to ramp things up a little more.
The characters are interesting to watch, with initial feelings towards select individuals holding the ability to change drastically depending on their actions. This makes for unpredictable and shocking character realisations throughout. The cast deal very well with this aspect of the film, provoking the desired response from those watching. Whether this be sympathy, disgust or rage each development narratively and in terms of characters effectively engages audiences by making them feel something towards what they’re witnessing. This is essential in creating such an involved finale which will have you willing certain characters to prevail over others.
So whilst this story is slow out of the starting blocks it becomes steadily more sinister as the film goes on. The restrained style of storytelling with leave some viewers feeling that the film is lacking but those willing to stick with this twisted tale will be satisfied with how The Occupant develops. It could be argued that this thriller lacks a little flare but it does enough to deliver an involved and entertaining home viewing experience.
Written by Hamish Calvert
STAR RATING –★★★
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