It’s 1976. The Olmedo family has left the countryside for a new life in Madrid. But their new home becomes a house of horrors in this hit supernatural thriller based on actual paranormal events.
Cast: Begoña Vargas, Iván Marcos, Bea Segura, Sergio Castellanos, José Luis de Madariaga, Iván Renedo, Javier Botet
Directors: Alberto Pintó
Writers: Ramón Campos, Gema R. Neira, David Orea, Salvador S. Molina
For the first two-thirds of the Spanish horror film 32 Malasana Street (Malasana 32), I was hooked. It was a mix of typical jump-scares, unexplained creepy characters and ghostly apparitions. In a lot of ways, the film looks and feels like a Spanish version of The Conjuring or Insidious films. I would have called it a decent haunting film if it hadn’t of been for the final third of the film. I’m not going to bury the lead: I hated the direction this film headed and there’s no world in which I would encourage anyone to watch this film because of how much I despised the sudden plummet in quality.
To explain why I hate the ending of this film so much I’d have to dive into spoiler territory, but I won’t do that. I will simply describe the ‘resolution’ — if you want to call it that — as to why the family of the film was being haunted is the complete opposite of what filmmakers, particularly horror filmmakers, should not be doing with their storytelling. The direction that 32 Malasana Street took felt like a 1960’s haunting film and not one from 2020. And I use that with all the negative baggage I could attach to such a remark and none of the positive. As much as the film seems to be inspired by James Wan’s collection of spooky tales under Blumhouse, it is a giant step away from tackling those films’ themes in a mature and interesting way.
With my feelings for the last third away for a moment, 32 Malasana Street does have some notable qualities. These include the solid cast and in particular Begoña Vargas, who plays the young daughter Amparo, who is our core lead for the majority of the film. The cinematography from Daniel Sosa Segura is also appropriately dark but he manages to capture the almost historical nature of the apartment building where the majority of the film takes place with an eye of a craftsman appreciating their work.