The voice is an instrument, susceptible to changes in a person’s mood, or her mental constitution. Natalia Meta’s The Intruder (El prófugo) introduces its protagonist’s voice as a carefully honed tool for her work: in the opening shots, Inés (Érica Rivas) is established as a voiceover artist, dubbing Japanese bondage horror in Spanish – then she is off to a holiday getaway with her boyfriend Leopoldo (Daniel Hendler). Her voice is central to the plot as it unfolds, and sound is used as an effective and unsettling stylistic device throughout. 

Even before what is supposed to be a romantic getaway turns truly sour, tension builds. Leopoldo proves to be a controlling and oppressive partner, and on the plane to their beachside destination Inés is already dreaming of his violent death. The eerie mood is set when dream and reality fluidly intermingle, becoming difficult to keep apart. As prophesied, Leopoldo ends up dying – putting a tragic ending to an inevitable argument between the pair. 

This is where the film’s true actions really begin. In the aftermath of her lover’s death, Inés’ mental health deteriorates. Bad nights filled with uncanny dreams leave her scattered and unfocused, and this is soon reflected in her voice. There is an audible interference in the recordings which her sound engineer can’t manage to pinpoint; in rehearsals for a concert, her choir director moves her from the soprano section to perform as a mezzo instead. 

Increasingly fraught, Rivas’ performance as Inés is riveting. More and more, the strain of the situation is visible in her face, eyes often widened with a hint of madness. Is the strange intruder in her voice and in her life a real demonic presence, or is this a mere figment of her imagination? 

Fully committed to the narrative ambiguity, The Intruder is a well-paced and atmospheric thriller which remains captivating until the very end, culminating in a most rewarding final scene.



CAST: Érica Rivas, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Daniel Hendler, Cecilia Roth, Guillermo Arengo

DIRECTOR: Natalia Meta

WRITER: Natalia Meta

SYNOPSIS: Inés is a dubbing artist and sings in a choir in Buenos Aires. Ever since a traumatic experience on holiday, she has been suffering from insomnia and is haunted by violent nightmares.