FILM COLUMN: Phenomena

PHENOMENA, which is new to Netflix, might fancy itself as Spain’s answer to The Conjuring.

But, truth be told, it is a far more light-hearted and touching tale about a group of three lonely, middle-aged women and a priest, who set up a paranormal investigation unit to examine things that go bump in the night.

Sagrario, Paz, Gloria, and Father Girón are known as the Hepta group and have investigated some very famous supernatural cases throughout Spain, making them oddball celebrities in their homeland. Based on a true story, this is a more endearing take on the haunted house genre than we have become accustomed too, even if all the stereotypical tropes are used throughout.

The group who come across more like the Golden Girls than Ghostbusters are starting to come apart at the seams. They are fed up with having no love lives, instead spending long nights searching for phantoms without a pulse, or any hint of a romantic streak in their other-worldly auras.

Not the kind of date nights these old dears are aching for but their devotion to each other keeps them strong and united, even if they are missing out in the land of the living.

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While at a crossroads, considering whether to disband the group or continue with their investigations, they agree to visit an antique shop where strange things are happening. But what should be another run of the mill case proves to be the most difficult they have ever faced, and will test their friendship and push them to their limits before the night is over.

Phenomena is a quaint little ghost story. There’s plenty of playful humour and the main characters are all quite endearing. As the film progresses the elements become darker and more spirited without ever becoming too taxing.

If anything, this is a sweet little ghost story filled with pathos and zeal.