It might be slightly overwhelming, especially for international audiences, but Netflix is successfully able to explore another real-life tragedy.
Another week, another true crime series graces Netflix — this one based on the notorious 1992 rape and murder of three 14-year-old girls in Alcasser, Spain. The Alcasser Murders is an extremely dense five-episode documentary series absolutely jam-packed with facts and figures and different perspectives, all conveyed in subtitled Spanish that’ll doubtlessly be slightly overwhelming for international audiences.
Somewhat reminiscent in its messiness of political documentary Active Measures, along with the usual true-crime suspects (including recent international examples like Killer Ratings), The Alcasser Murders contains enough sheer fact-driven investigation and drama to entertain those who’re into such things, but if they don’t speak Spanish they’ll have a hard time parsing the various details, especially since interviews are complimented with maps and diagrams and all sorts of other paraphernalia. Only having five episodes within which to work obviously exacerbates this problem, but here we are.
Luckily, much of the case and the subsequent national panic is pretty universal, and the tragedy speaks for itself. At the time the events were well-publicized, resulting in a wide-ranging manhunt, extensive media coverage and pointed fingers at local institutions, and the knock-on effect of that level of exposure is a compelling angle whenever The Alcasser Murders returns to people who were close to the tragedy. These are the aspects that really help to cement The Alcasser Murders in an overstuffed true-crime market; the underlying sense of humanity that ensures the consequences of these events are still felt years after they occurred.
For all of its overabundance of details, The Alcasser Murders is nonetheless slickly and efficiently presented, as these Netflix shows tend to be. It’s decently-paced, too, keeping the revelations coming right through the final episode. The language barrier may provide a minor obstacle, but the leisurely nature of streaming content — that luxury of being able to pause, rewind, and just generally control the flow of information — helps to offset the information overload. Netflix is hardly starving for shows like this, but The Alcasser Murders proves an engaging addition to the platform’s ever-growing true-crime catalog.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.