When was the last time you watched a horror movie? Mine was the Hindi language film, Gaslight. Agreed, they are tough to make but there’s no other genre more satiable if the creators get it right.
I have noticed that such ideas are usually based on real-life events. It just gives them more substance to work with because sometimes, fiction can be too peculiar for ghosts.
Phenomena is a new Spanish horror movie streaming on Netflix. Having a ninety-minute duration, the film is touted to be suspenseful and scary.
Is it so? Let’s find out.
Just a NOTE: I have added “2023” under brackets at various places to ensure that readers coming from search engines do not get confused. There have been many other films named “Phenomena.”
Phenomena (2023) Synopsis
A group of three middle-aged women, specializing in investigating paranormal activities, is put to test in the absence of its leader.
Phenomena is based on real-life events inspired by the forays of the Hepta Group.
Carlos Theron directs the film while Belen Rueda (Sagrario), Gracia Olayo (Paz), Toni Acosta (Gloria), and Emilio Caba (Padre) play the lead roles.
What Works for Phenomena (2023)?
Okay, so we will go to the scary part a little later. First, let’s discuss whether the Spanish movie has a consumable storyline.
Paranormal activity as a phenomenon was popular in the previous century. People would hire psychics to get rid of ghosts.
The film explores this premise in a contained manner. Instead of scattering the vision on different cases, the makers stick to a particular encounter.
It allows you to focus more prominently. Limited characters make it easy to navigate the screenplay. Three brave women meandering their way to solve freaking cases is a delectable idea, in my opinion.
The fact that it has its origins in reality makes Phenomena even more astonishing.
Moreover, the screenplay is intermittently thrilling. The first half is fiery while the second lags behind by a whisker.
How the makers set the surroundings of the 1980s in motion is commendable. The songs, restaurants, and streets, all look convincing.
I particularly liked the in-house environment, propelled by the spooky background score. Yes, it is typical but works in totality.
Is Phenomena scary? Well, that is a subjective question. I found the first half quite chilling when it was all about unearthing a mysterious presence.
The fact that I was watching it at 1 in the night, with headphones plugged in, might also have something to do with it.
Phenomena doesn’t use uncanny visuals, otherworldly figures, or insane VFX. Still, the movie manages to hook you.
Unlike the usual horror films, Phenomena is not slow. It has a brisk pace to go with a short duration.
Furthermore, the movie never becomes intensely superficial. You will get the chills in the first half, and enjoy the tale in the second.
Boredom will stay away.
How are the Performances?
Toni Acosta as Gloria is the witty darling of Phenomena. She is affable, bold, and a seeker. Her expressions define newness in the film.
The actress carries the flow and contains the scratchiness. Toni’s presence is somewhat enchanting because of two things: one, her characterization, and second, the zeal with which she gets into the skin of Gloria.
Belen Rueda plays Sagrario in Phenomena. Her grounded demeanor provides leverage to other characters. In fact, the story benefits the most when she brings a blend of boldness alongside.
Gracia Olayo’s portrayal of Paz is the guiding light of the Spanish film. Quiet, mature, and aware, she brings nuances of her own to the table.
What Doesn’t Work for Phenomena (2023)?
The movie could have gone a little deeper. In the present form, Phenomena leaves you wanting more. Revelations were needed to close some chapters.
Also, the movie has minor commonplace twists that give it a banal impression.
Lastly, Phenomena becomes slightly rusty and predictable toward the end. There’s a point after which you can largely guess what is to come.
Should you watch Phenomena (2023)?
The film’s USP is its pace. When combined with the short length, it gives enough to stream. Also, Phenomena does decently well to give a spine-chilling experience in the first half.
What is the Hepta Group? Is the Hepta Group Real?
Hepta Group was founded by Father Pilon in 1987, aiming to investigate the rising paranormal activities in Spain.
Sol Banco-Soler, Piedad Cavero, and Paloma Navarrete were among the many recruits he had hired for the job.
Together, the team used to work on everything others were afraid to. Going by the information available on the internet, the Hepta Group is still active in Spain.