32 MALASAÑA STREET, directed by Albert Pintó is, for the most part, a classic horror film where a vengeful spirit haunts the apartment they passed away in and, when a new family arrives, torments them to achieve a goal. While some moments are suspenseful, the film employs too many jump scares that are so common now rather than building the suspense and tension through imagery and sound effects. This creates a middling picture that, while not the worst, will be easily forgotten when the next jump-scare horror film arrives.

32 MALASAÑA STREET is about a family who moves to an apartment in the big city hoping to have a better life than the gossip and judgment they faced in their village.

Director Albert Pintó does an effective job. The scenes are dramatic, the shadows creepy and the use of objects like an etch-a-sketch, phone, and television are crafty. If they would have used even more of this and less of the jump scares, while ratcheting up the sound for added effect, 32 MALASAÑA STREET might’ve been scarier and made a lasting impression. The intro, especially the song playing a few minutes in, wonderfully sets up a feeling of terror that, unfortunately, is never fully realized.

The sound effects are superb in certain parts, building tension, but when they are accompanied by jump scares they often fall flat and almost inspire a laugh rather than terror. Could we also have more people walking away from the creepy shadow? If you know something shouldn’t be lurking in your room, why would you investigate rather than just walking out? At the very least, you should pick up something to fight with if you’re one of those curious cats.

But there is promise here for future films. The twist of who the ghost is haunting the place could’ve been handled better; opening a wider conversation about forced conformity to societal norms. Still, 32 MALASAÑA STREET does draw parallels between members of the new family and the deceased spirit in residence, but it never moves toward anything meaningful, almost leaving it up for debate.

The climax was also disappointing. All these people are hiding secrets but no one changes. They are exactly who they were, victims as well as abettors in a system that harms anyone who is different.

The acting is good. Begoña Vargas as Amparo is wonderful as the restrictions on her life, combined with what she’s experiencing, all take a toll. Iván Marcos and Bea Segura who play the parents, Manolo and Candela, are also great, but again the script doesn’t give them room for more. There are times when horror is used to handle important subject matter, and times where the subject matter is just used for effect. With this film, it feels like the latter.

However, if you enjoy horror films and love jump scares—they do exist—this will be entertaining to watch. There are also times when the jump scares are more entertaining; like a Halloween horror movie marathon. And some of the visual effects, combined with the jump scares will elicit a body jerk. Just don’t expect more.

If you missed out on 32 MALASAÑA STREET at NIGHTSTREAM, don’t despair! The film will be available exclusively on Shudder on October 22, 2020.

Movie Reviews

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