This past week I went to my local arthouse theater, The Nightlight, and I saw Mickey Keating’s Invader. I had no knowledge of what the movie was other than “new movie from Keating and Joe Swanberg”. I think that everyone should go in blind for this movie, and just enjoy the ride. But I write for a movie review site and am supposed to tell you freaks the plot, the highs, the lows and all the juicy details. Here is the official synopsis; A young woman arrives in the Chicago suburbs and begins to suspect that something terrible has happened to her missing cousin, but soon realizes that her greatest fears don’t even begin to scratch the surface.  Race and nationality are characters themselves in this, as the Spanish-speaking protagonist Ana wanders through suburban Chicago streets that look like a Fourth of July parade just wrecked it. At a pretty tight 70 minutes, Invader is Keating pushing himself to deliver something lean and mean. The minimalist story helps make this feel real, eerie and like a nightmare you could witness yourself. The sound design is where Keating really pushes this idea on the viewer. It is so fucking loud, the music coming from cars, the way Ana walks around and hears every single car, person, wind gust cranked to eleven. This insane audio helps wrap the blanket around the cold camerawork. If that is enough for you, go see it at your local theater’s screening. If that is NOT enough for you, I also have an interview with Keating below.

This movie looks and feels like it was shot on a shoestring budget, and it almost sells you on the idea of something being real in a snuff sense. Mickey Keating did a great job exploiting the feeling of being an outsider in the sense of the main girl not knowing anyone in this town. A lot of the movie has shaky cam, or out of focus shots, or even scenes that are grainy and leave you unable to really focus on what is supposed to be seen. All of this fits into the feeling of disgust. I spent 3 years writing songs from the POV of killers in slashers, home invasion movies, gross giallos. And this movie does a great job covering all of the bases, including the home phone ringing and having the ringtone from Black Christmas. I hate saying things are punk, I hate talking about it in any sense other than music. But this movie feels punk. It’s small, it’s diy, it’s worth your time. Cannot recommend this enough. My only complaint is that my mystery man band didn’t have a song in this thing.

How did the two of you start working together? 

I’d been a fan of Joe’s for years before we met. His movies were quite inspiring to me in college. I also really thought he was so great in You’re Next and A Horrible Way To Die and, through an email intro by Larry Fessenden, tried to cast him in my film Carnage Park. Scheduling didn’t work out, but I finally was able to convince him to be in my film Offseason and the rest is history.

What has changed since the first time y’all collaborated and now?

Offseason and Invader are polar opposites. Offseason was very rigid in terms of its camera setups and structure, Invader was majorly improvised, every day was something new and surprising. It was very freeing.

How did this movie come to be?

We became fast friends during Offseason, it was a way for Joe to experience how I traditionally worked, and so when he called up and asked if I wanted to come out to Chicago and try a movie his way, I jumped at the opportunity to do something different. We had a blast.  

What do you want people to take from Invader?

That a break-in occurs every 30 seconds in The United States.

Any specific inspirations for the movie? I heard the ‘74 Black Christmas ringtone, was that intentional?

Joe really challenged me to go as influence-free with this movie as I possibly could, so it was not intentional, but that’s cool if it reminded you of that. 

What is the tour for this movie? Is there a good social media spot for it/either of you?

We’re rolling out as long as possible, into the fall, hoping to hit up as many theaters we can. There will be more announcements and live q&a’s very soon.

Any physical release plans? I run a small tape label, would love to dub the 3 song soundtrack onto cassette for fans

Hell yeah that would be sick

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