The Invisible Guest

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The Invisible Guest
Contratiempo poster.jpg
Spanish theatrical release poster
Directed byOriol Paulo and Dhar Mann
Produced by
Written byOriol Paulo
Music byFernando Velázquez
CinematographyXavi Jiménez
Edited byJaume Martí
  • Think Studio
  • Atresmedia Cine
  • Colosé Producciones
  • Nostromo Pictures
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • 23 September 2016 (2016-09-23) (Fantastic Fest)
  • 6 January 2017 (2017-01-06) (Spain)
Running time
106 minutes
Budget€4 million[1] ($4.5 million)
Box office$30.5 million[1]

The Invisible Guest (Spanish: Contratiempo, lit.'Setback') is a 2016 Spanish mystery thriller film written and directed by Oriol Paulo. It was released in Spain on 6 January 2017. The film opened to lukewarm critical response, but was a commercial success, grossing $30.5 million against its €4 million budget.

The Invisible Guest has spawned three remakes in different languages.


Spanish businessman Adrián Doria is out on bail after being arrested for the murder of his lover, Laura Vidal. His lawyer, Félix Leiva, hires prestigious defense attorney Virginia Goodman, who visits him at his apartment. They have three hours to come up with a defense so Virginia urges her client to tell him the whole truth.

Adrián tells Virginia how he and Laura ended their affair months ago but received a call blackmailing them to come to a rural hotel with €100,000. At the hotel, Adrián was knocked unconscious and awoke to find Laura dead in the bathroom. With the door and the windows locked from inside the police found Adrián to be the only suspect.

Adrián then narrates further back, how he claimed to be in Paris but was really in a cabin with Laura. As they drive back to Barcelona, Adrián swerves to avoid a deer, clipping another car, which hits a tree. Although they are unhurt, the driver of the other car, a bank employee named Daniel Garrido, 23, is killed. Laura rationalizes that it is not entirely their fault since Daniel was texting and not wearing his seat belt. When another car approaches, Laura pushes Daniel's body down across the passenger's seat, and she and Adrián pretend to exchange insurance information. She answers Daniel's phone when it rings to continue the ruse, and the other driver leaves, convinced. Laura waits for a tow truck in Adrián's car, which will not start, while Adrián dumps Daniel's car in a lake with his body in the trunk. Adrian remains around the place of the accident, while Laura departs with the tow truck towing Adrian's car.

Later on, Laura, upset, returns to the place of the accident (where Adrian is still waiting) driving Adrian's car, and tells him how his car was repaired. An automotive engineer, Tomás, drove by and offered to help Laura, who claimed she'd hit a deer. He towed Adrian's car to his (Tomás') house to fix it. While talking to Tomás's wife, Elvira, Laura saw some family photographs and realized Daniel Garrido was their son. When Laura was about to leave and got into Adrian's car, she adjusted the driver's seat arousing Tomás's suspicion as to the identity of the driver. After Adrián sells his car and reports it stolen, he parts ways with Laura, hopefully for good.

Within a few days, Adrián is summoned to the police station, as Tomás has reported his plate number to the police. Félix arranges for a false alibi for Adrián in Paris, and bribes the police to remove Adrián's name from the Garrido case file. When the news report that Daniel is on the run after embezzling money from the bank, Adrián confronts Laura, who admits that she took Daniel's wallet when they put his body in the trunk, and later hacked into Daniel's account and stole the money. Adrián tells her that what she did is wrong, but Laura threatens to frame him too.

Adrián is named European Businessman of the Year, and Tomás poses as a reporter during the ceremony to confront him. Tomás notices that Adrián pulls out the same cigarette lighter he saw when fixing the car. He begs Adrián to tell him where his son's body is in order to bury him as security removes Tomás. Days later, Adrián receives a photo of a lake with instructions to take Laura to the rural hotel with €100,000. Adrián thinks the blackmailer may be the driver they saw driving by just after the accident, if he followed Adrián as he dumped the car into the lake.

Back in the present, Virginia suggests that, in order to save himself, Adrián could claim he saw the face of the man who hit him in the rural hotel room and that the attacker was Tomás. Adrián then reveals he has always known it was Tomás, as he did see his face, but he didn't say it because he was testing Virginia.

Virginia suggests planting an item belonging to Laura in the trunk of Daniel's car (with Daniel's body in it), and claiming she acted alone. Adrián then confesses that as he was pushing the car into the lake, Daniel woke up, as he was only unconscious; an autopsy would reveal he drowned. Virginia is visibly shocked, yet she states she will not reveal this to the judge.

Virginia says Laura's medical records show she was suffering from anxiety, likely from a guilty conscience, and suggests Adrián is lying to make it seem like Laura was the mastermind behind their deceit. However, Virginia says she believes Tomás framed him because Elvira (Tomás's wife) works at the rural hotel where Laura's body was found, and that's why the Garridos chose that place for the rendezvous: Elvira could have easily unlocked the window for her husband to escape after killing Laura, and later locked the window, making it seem like nobody else came in. Virginia says Tomás has been stalking him (Adrián), Félix and even herself, and points to an apartment across the street, where Tomás is lurking. She continues to push Adrián, who finally admits that he killed Laura and staged the scene.

Félix phones and leaves a message on Adrián's home voicemail, urging him to call back as he was unable to reach him on his cellphone. Virginia suggests he return Félix's call as they take a quick 10-minute break. She exits the apartment with great urgency. Adrián meanwhile turns on his cellphone and calls Félix: Félix again says to Adrian that he could not get a hold of him and informs him that the prosecution's witness is indeed the other driver, but his silence was successfully bought. As Félix questions how the meeting with Virginia is going, the call begins to go in and out with high pitched tones, Adrián then realizes that their entire conversation is being recorded. He recalls Virginia turning off his phone previously, most probably so the cellphone signal would not disrupt the recording. He looks into the apartment across the street and sees Tomás standing next to Virginia, who reveals herself to be Elvira Garrido in disguise. Using the confession Elvira coerced from Adrián, Tomás calls the police as the real Virginia Goodman arrives at Adrián's apartment.


  • Mario Casas as Adrián Doria, successful businessman, husband and father
  • Bárbara Lennie as Laura Vidal, Adrián's lover
  • Iñigo Gastesi as Daniel Garrido Ávila, 23-year-old banker
  • Francesc Orella as Félix Leiva, Adrián's attorney
  • Blanca Martínez as Virginia Goodman, defense attorney hired by Félix
  • José Coronado as Tomás Garrido, Daniel's father
  • Ana Wagener as Elvira Garrido, Daniel's mother
  • Manel Dueso as Inspector Milán
  • San Yélamos as Sonia, Adrián's wife
  • David Selvas as Bruno, Laura's husband
  • Paco Tous as Conductor


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.[2]


The film grossed US$3.9 million in Spain[3] and CN¥172.4 million in China.[4] 67% of nine reviews are positive on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and the average rating is 6.56/10.[5]



  1. ^ a b "Contratiempo (The Invisible Guest) (2017)". JP's Box-Office. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  2. ^ "ICAA Film Data - ICAA Film Database". Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Contratiempo (The Invisible Guest)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  4. ^ "看不见的客人". Cbooo (in Chinese). Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  5. ^ "THE INVISIBLE GUEST (CONTRATIEMPO)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  6. ^ Redazione. "David di Donatello 2019: tutte le nomination".
  7. ^ Scroll Staff. "'Badla' is a remake of a twist-laden Spanish thriller that invites viewers to guess the killer".
  8. ^ "Amitabh Bachchan to Star in Bollywood Remake of Spanish Thriller 'The Invisible Guest'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  9. ^ "The film is indeed inspired by Spanish film 'The Invisible Guest'". The Times Of India.

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