Inés (Erica Rivas) is a dubbing artist. Following the apparent suicide of her wannabe boyfriend when they were on holiday, Inés hasn’t been the same. With strange sonic vibrations emanating from her body, her work and place in the recital choir are under threat. However, the deeper she investigates their strange cause, the more it seems that there is something supernatural that wants to inhabit her body…
…hallucinations and paranoia are quick to join Erica Rivas’s portrayal of Inés.
From its satisfying opening where an airline stewardess offers to kill her romantically-jealous boyfriend beside her, hallucinations and paranoia are quick to join Erica Rivas’s portrayal of Inés. In recounting an on-going nightmare of a voice that constantly demands to be let inside her, ‘El Profugo / The Intruder’ sets about satisfying Inés’s fear. When her dubbing engineer Nelson also complains of hearing phantom distortions in her recordings, the tone is firmly set of a woman coming unglued at the seams. Later meeting organ tuner Alberto (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) at the choir’s recital hall, the film further fleshes out its sonic allegories to Dario Argento’s ‘Suspiria‘. Should the increasing morbidity of Peter Strickland’s ‘Berberian Sound Studio‘ be in any doubt, an ageing actress called Adela literally intrudes from frame right with a hasty plot re-cap.
With the audience now fully on board with both the nature and the stakes of the situation, ‘El Profugo / The Intruder’ determinedly tumbles down towards the fight inside Inés’s body. From squirming inducing snake-like apparitions working their way between Inés’s legs to Alberto’s easy ability to disappear, ‘El Profugo / The Intruder’ firmly stakes its claim to be considered as a creepy, psychosexual thriller.
Ending with a sequence where Inés is trapped inside the wind chest of the recital hall’s organ, Inés proceeds to accuse each of those around her of being her tormenting spirit. With Pedro Almodóvar regular Cecilia Roth as her mother and a quirkily attractive-yet-creepy turn from Nahuel Pérez Biscayart as Alberto, she has plenty of good options to choose from.
With ‘El Profugo / The Intruder’s’ trap finally sprung, its blend of drawn-out tension and haunting atmosphere will either have you wanting more or crawling the walls with impatience. Similar to ‘Berberian Sound Studio‘s’ mood over resolution, director Natalia Meta categorically departs from the temptation of an open-ending and categorically nails her colours to a conclusion that will either frustrate or satisfy.
You’ll just have to trust your gut and see what noise it makes.