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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Review: Malasaña 32

Director: Albert Pintó

Screenplay: Ramón Campos, Gema R. Niera, David Orea, and Salvador S. Molina

Year: 2020

A family of six moves from the country to the center of Madrid, Spain. With their life savings and selling their old properties, they are able to buy an apartment that seems to be too comfortable for the price. While the family struggles to adapt to the city life, the apartment that appeared to be the place they will be happy starts turning into their worst nightmare.

Based in the '70s, right after the end of Francisco Franco's regime, "Malasaña 32" shows the distinctive social features of the Spain of that time, and what continues to be the reality for families that move from the rural areas to the city searching for the better lifestyle that these places always promise. Once in the city, they face the harsh reality of the economic cost of living in these places and how complicated it can be to get a salary that permits a comfortable life. Not only does this happen in Madrid, but it happens in all other large cities around the world, and this phenomenon can even be extrapolated to immigration between countries. 

Not only does this family have to deal with their economic concerns, but their new home seems to be inhabited by an evil entity. In the haunted house realm, the work of James Wan on "The Conjuring" and "Insidious" cannot be ignored, and clearly, the director Albert Pintó (“Matar a Dios”) and the screenwriters Ramón Campos (“Gran Hotel”), Gema R. Niera (“High Seas”), David Orea (“45 rpm”), and Salvador S. Molina (“El Verano que Vivimos”) borrow inspiration from both films. This left a bad taste because instead of going for a more original idea, it feels like a Spanish remake/mash-up of these films.

The script has a few flaws, and it is hard to understand how they were not weed out with so many people involved in it. The reason why the house is haunted is well explained, but the actions that lead towards those explanations, mainly how the character responds and their motivation, is not clear, and it is evident that the personalities are manipulated in favor of moving the plot in a specific direction. Also, many character actions have no other purpose than forcing a cheap jump scare, which plagues the film.

Another problem with this movie is the bad use of illumination. Especially in dark scenes, they are so dark that it is hard to make out what is going on, a frustrating scenario for those who watch it. The special effects are mainly well executed, but the makeup looks exaggerated and unrealistic in some scenes. That being said, they also manage to create some frightening moments.

From my review, it could seem like "Malasaña 32" is not a good movie, but that's not the case. It just lacks originality and its script has some defects on the character and plot development, those we often see in horror cinema, with the mere purpose of creating a frightening moment that might be effective for novices, but leave us veterans wanting more. However, the plot is entertaining, and it has good rhythm, it has its good moments, and the acting is great.

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