32 Malasana Street is a fantastic film to include on your October programming slate. Bravo, Nightstream! And bravo, Shudder, who will be releasing this film on their streaming platform on October 22nd. A fun haunted house story with plenty of scares, it’s perfect Halloween viewing.
Directed by Albert Pintó and set in the 1970s, the story follows the Olmedo family. They have sold off everything they own in their small town to come to Madrid for a new start. Despite their world having been entirely upended and finding themselves in a strange place, they are still excited for the change and are hopeful that this new chapter will bring them the prosperity and security they have always dreamt of.
They find a beautiful apartment, fully furnished and at a low price. Yes, it seems way too good to be true and like a potential recipe for sleepless nights, but they are optimistic nonetheless. As they settle in, a number of strange occurrences take place. At first, they seem odd, but ultimately harmless. It’s a new apartment in a new city—they’re still getting used to everything, after all. But when the family’s youngest son, Rafael (Iván Renedo), disappears from the apartment, they finally begin to understand the severity of their situation. This apartment has a dark history and they have now become a part of it. Not only must they recover Rafael, but they must try to put whatever resides in their home to rest.
There are some really solid effects shots that set the stage wonderfully, particularly in the early parts of the film. Pintó allows the mood to come on gradually and uses some of the scenery to his advantage in that regard. A couple of moments in particular with a creepy portrait hanging on the wall alert the audience just enough to keep us on edge, but never so much as to overtly call anything out. Slowly, things begin to amp up and the apartment comes to life in more direct ways. We see a number of seemingly unconnected events take place, each focusing on a different member of the family, before they eventually coalesce into different arms in the same story. Some of what we see is the standard creepy stuff that happens within a haunted house, and others are specifically tied to this particular haunting and the story behind it.
The story of the haunting itself comes at us a little quickly, but still manages to be satisfying, especially when we see our characters reacting to it. Given the nature of the backstory, there was a lot of potential for this to go south quickly, but Pinto largely conveys it with grace, if a little fast. A little more time would have allowed greater understanding of the ghost and the nature of the haunting itself.
Other than that, this is exactly what you want out of a haunted house movie. It doesn’t really break any new ground, but it offers a creepy setting, effective atmosphere, and a number of frightening moments. Exactly what you want for the Spooky Season.
Movie Score: 4/5
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