The Invisible Guest (2016)

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The Invisible Guest (2016) poster

Date Created: 01/12/2017
Date Modified: 07/12/2017
Runtime: 106 min -
While the clock is ticking, with the aid of a witness preparation expert, a successful entrepreneur accused of murder has less than three hours to come up with an impregnable defence.
Contratiempo (English: Setback), released in some English-speaking territories as The Invisible Guest, is a 2016 Spanish crime thriller film released theatrically on 6 January 2017. It is the second feature thriller by director Oriol Paulo, following El Cuerpo (The Body, 2012).


Adrián Doria, a handsome young businessman is accused of the murder of his mistress, a young photographer named Laura Vidal. In pursuit of a defense against conviction for her murder, his lawyer, Félix Leiva engages the services of a prestigious defense attorney, Virginia Goodman. Adrian is placed under house arrest and Virginia visits him late one evening, claiming that the prosecutor has a new witness and the judge might be having the trial tonight.

Adrian tells Virginia how he and Laura had decided to end their affair months ago. However, they received a call blackmailing them to come to a hotel far away from the city with 100 000 Euros. At the hotel, Adrian and Laura realize that it is a trap and they try to leave. However, Adrian is knocked down unconscious by an unseen person. When he awakes, he finds Laura dead in the bathroom with his money all over her body. The police arrive and find the room door locked from the inside and break in. The windows are also shut manually during winter. Since there is no way someone else could have entered the room and left undetected, Adrian is arrested for Laura's murder. Virginia points out Adrian is not telling her the full truth and makes him tell her the entire story.

Adrian then narrates how he came back to Spain after a business trip to Paris. However, instead of going home straight to his wife and young daughter, he went to the outskirts of town for a rendezvous with Laura. On their way home to the city, they get involved in a collision with another car. Although they are unhurt, the driver of the other car, a young bank worker named Daniel Garrido, dies at the scene. Laura rationalizes that it is not entirely their fault since Daniel was texting while driving and did not have his seat belt on. While another car passes by, Adrian and Laura pretend like nothing happens and the driver leaves. While trying to flee the scene, Adrian's car engine dies off. Laura waits for help while Adrian leaves with Daniel's car to get rid of it and the body. He drives it into a lake and disposes of it there. He then texts Laura his location and she comes to fetch him with his car, now repaired.

When Adrian asks Laura how she got his car fixed, she tells him a much more horrific story. A middle-aged man claiming to be a mechanic drives by and offers Laura help. He tows Adrian's car and drives her to his house where she rests while he fixes her car. A paranoid Laura lies to the mechanic that her name is Raquel and she owns a bookstore. While talking to the mechanic's wife, Laura sees some photographs on the wall and realizes that she is at the home of Daniel Garrido and the mechanic and his wife are his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Garrido. Laura, who has Daniel's phone in her pocket, hides it in the couch. Mrs. Garrido finds it and assumes her son left their house without it. As Laura leaves in Adrian's car, Mr. Garrido notices her adjusting her seat, proving that she was not truthful when she claimed she was alone earlier. He notes down the car's number plates as it leaves his compound. Laura picks up Adrian and they go to sell off his car before reporting it stolen. Back in the city, they part ways, promising to never meet again.

During the next few days, Adrian tries to put the incident behind him and focus on a new business deal that will expand his company's business in Asia. Before the deal can be signed, he is summoned to the police station. Mr. Garrido has reported his plate number to the police. Felix arranges for a false alibi in Paris and warns Adrian from hiding anything from him ever again. Felix also bribes the police to get rid of Adrian's case file to prevent any gossip that might taint his reputation and affect the business deal. As a result, the Asian deal is a success and Adrian is named Young Businessman of The Year by the government. During the award ceremony, he is visited by Mr. Garrido who tries to make him admit the truth. Security removes him from the ballroom and Adrian continues to live his life as usual.

A few weeks later, Adrian learns from the news that the police have evidence Daniel Garrido is on the run from the police after a huge sum of money from the bank he was working for was transferred into his account. Adrian confronts Laura about this and she admits that she not only took Daniel's phone but his wallet too before hiding his body in the car boot. With his security details, she hacked into his account and stole his money in order to create a distraction for the police. Adrian tells her that what she is doing is wrong and they should surrender to the police. Laura refuses to comply and threatens to frame him if he goes to the police.

Days later, Adrian receives a photo of a lake and an audio recording instructing him and Laura to come to the hotel at the outskirts with the 100 000 Euros. Adrian and Laura do as they are told and the rest happened as he had told the police. However, he had seen the face of the man who hit him in the hotel room and it was indeed Mr. Garrido.

Virginia points out that Laura's latest medical reports show that she suffered from anxiety days before her murder and the jury will not believe someone like her who is feeling guilty could frame Daniel to save herself. Instead, it is much more plausible for it to be done by Adrian, who the prosecution would have known by now, bribed the local police to get rid of his case file. However, Virginia reveals that she believes Adrian's story because Mrs. Garrido works at that hotel too. She could have easily unlocked the room window for her husband to escape after killing Laura. Later, after the police have broken into the room to arrest Adrian, she could have walked in and locked the window, making it seem like nobody could have come in and left.

Now, in order to prove that the Garridos are behind Laura's murder, Virginia states that Adrian needs to confess to disposing of Daniel Garrido's body in order to establish their motive. Adrian marks the spot on a map for Virginia. He also reveals that before pushing Daniel and his car into the lake, he realized Daniel is still alive. By then, it is too late and Adrian pushes the car into the lake, killing Daniel. At this point, Virginia has come to realize Adrian is not a victim of his circumstance as he has painted himself to be. In fact, it was he who orchestrated the cover up of Daniel's murder and made it seem like Laura was the mastermind behind everything in order to save himself. Virginia can no longer bring herself to sympathize with Adrian but is still determined to save him and her reputation.

Just then, Felix calls and informs them that the prosecution's star witness is actually the driver that passed by Adrian and Laura that day. Felix has bribed him to remain silent and he will not testify for the prosecution any longer. With everything settled, Virginia leaves the apartment. At that moment, Adrian realizes the pen she gave him is actually a mobile phone distortion device, which makes the conversation become difficult to understand, (that's how Virginia manages to not get discovered when Adrian passes the phone to talk with lawyer Felix, due to the phone device). Virginia then goes to the building opposite the apartment and reveals herself to be Mrs. Garrido in disguise. She had successfully recorded Adrian's confession along with the location of her son's body. And Mr. Garrido calls the police saying he has the information about his son's death. At that moment, the real Virginia Goodman arrives at Adrian's apartment (at the real time they set their appointment). By then, Adrian realizes it is too late for him and his life is over.


Mario Casas as Adrián Doria
Ana Wagener as Virginia Goodman
José Coronado as Tomás Garrido
Bárbara Lennie as Laura Vidal
Francesc Orella as Félix Leiva
Paco Tous as Conductor
David Selvas as Bruno
Iñigo Gastesi as Daniel Garrido
San Yélamos as Sonia
Manel Dueso as Inspector Milán
Blanca Martínezv


The film was shot in 2015, in Terrassa, a city in Catalonia, Spain, and in other locations in Spain such as the city of Barcelona, the region of Biscay, and Vall de Núria.


The film grossed US$3.9 million in Spain.[1] It has grossed CN¥172.4 million in China.[2]
Directed byOriol Paulo
Produced byMercedes Gamero
Adrián Guerra
Sandra Hermida
Mikel Lejarza
Eneko Lizarraga
Núria Valls
Written byOriol Paulo
StarringMario Casas
Bárbara Lennie
José Coronado
Ana Wagener
Francesc Orella
Paco Tous
CinematographyXavi Jiménez
Atresmedia Cine
Think Studio
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Film Factory Entertainment
Release date
  • 23 September 2016(Fantastic Fest)
  • 6 January 2017
Running time
106 minutes
Budget€4,000,000 (estimated)