Phenomena (2023) Review – a satisfying blend of comedy and horror

By Romey Norton
Published: April 14, 2023 (Last updated: last month)
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phenomena-2023-review
2.5

Summary

Three experienced paranormal experts and an eager student investigate a haunted antique shop to solve what happened to their friend. With quirky characters and a decent storyline, this Spanish comedy-horror film is muy bueno!

We review the 2023 Netflix horror-comedy film Phenomena, which does not contain spoilers.

Netflix has a growing library of Spanish films and television series, including Money Heist, Sky Rojo, and The House of Flowers, all of which have had decent success on the streaming service.

Phenomena is a Spanish horror-comedy movie written by Marta Buchaca and Fernando Navarro and directed by Carlos Therón.

Phenomena (2023) Review and Plot Summary

The story surrounds three middle-aged women who investigate paranormal events and are put to the test when their leader, Father Pilón, ends up in the hospital, and they don’t believe it’s down to natural causes.

The film is based in Madrid in the 1990s and is mainly set in an antique shop (classic) where strange, unexplainable things keep happening. With the help of an enthusiastic young student, the trio must work together to solve the most challenging case of their careers.

Phenomena uses classic horror tropes such as dark colors, dim lighting, objects falling off the wall, doors opening and closing, lights flickering, and throwing everything into one paranormal investigation. The film I instantly think of when watching this is Ghostbusters.

Similarly, we have a quirky, dynamic group of investigators, who believe and want to prove that the paranormal is real, taking on a strong, evil energy, but in this case, it’s to save one priest and not the whole of New York.

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The film offers an array of quirky characters; the student (Ivan) provides comedic relief as he’s young and naive and wants to provide explanations and prove the existence of the paranormal with new-found devices.

Gloria, the medium, is brazen and walks around with a cigarette in one hand and a crystal ball in another (Toni Acosta gives a great, memorable performance).

There’s a character called Enrique from the antique shop, another quirky, weird, and sad character who suffers from hair loss, constantly sweating, and is eventually possessed (Luckily, no one dies as it’s all kept lighthearted).

Is the 2023 Netflix film Phenomena good or bad?

Horror comedy is always fun, as it can get away with being cheesy, having terrible acting, bad lighting, and odd filming. Luckily, this film shies away from all that and gives a decent overall performance.

If you want to mix comedy with horror, you have to be either slapstick or over-the-top sarcastic. This film didn’t have much of either, but then again, maybe it has more comedy tailored to Spanish audiences.

The overuse of every ghost investigation trope you can use, from using a spirit board to possession, is pretty funny to see it all thrown into one room. 

Is the 2023 Netflix movie Phenomena worth watching?

If you’re into comedy-horror films, then this film is worth watching. It’s not a film that will jump-scare you out of your skin or make you belly laugh out loud.

However, it’s a quirky, easy watch with a decent plot and good acting. It reminded me of the series Supernatural, that satisfying mix of comedy and horror, enough to intrigue and entertain you.

What did you think of the 2023 Netflix film Phenomena? Comment below.

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