Stylishly presented and shocking throughout, The Alcasser Murders is a 5 part documentary series depicting the infamous rape and murder of 3 girls in Spain. With a myriad of facts, figures and different people interviewed, the documentary can feel a little cluttered and messy at times but the story itself should be enough to see you through until the end. It’s a tough show to binge if I’m honest; the aforementioned facts continue throughout the 5 episodes as more evidence comes to light and percentages, character names and media broadcast statistics are thrown around. Still, it’s interesting enough to keep you watching but it’s also a documentary I think Spanish speaking natives may take to more than the International crowd.
In 1992, three 14 year old girls went missing on a night out en-route to a nightclub in Alcasser, Spain. The small town’s search for the girls soon spread and as the newspapers and press caught wind of the story, things escalated to a nationwide manhunt. With media companies taking advantage of the booming ratings, as the episodes tick by more of the case is publicized, with one episode showing a Father heading onto TV with his theory of what happened while judgment is passed on the police for the handling of the investigation itself.
This all builds toward the final episode which takes us back to modern day Spain and a look at how the families have dealt with all the publicity and issues. The series then closes out on a somewhat subjective note but there’s enough here to look past that and take to the story itself.
If, like me, you’re a big fan of fact-driven shows with plenty of statistics and a factual-based investigation then The Alcasser Murders will be for you. I do appreciate it’s going to be a polarizing show though and there are a lot of facts to take in here. At times, these are presented while a character is speaking and it can be difficult to distinguish the difference between them both, consequently resulting in you losing some of the information. These moments are a shame too, because so much of the series is well paced but these design decisions only further accentuate that this is going to be a show tailored toward Spanish speaking countries than other languages. Exacerbating this problem are numerous background shots of maps, diagrams and archival footage which all combine to make this slightly overwhelming at times.
That’s to take nothing away from the style of The Alcasser Murders though which is aesthetically impressive throughout. Fading shots, archival footage blending into face to face interviews, split screen shots and all sorts of other visual goodies do a great job fleshing the series out and adding some flair to this one. The archival news footage is a nice touch too and there’s some time lapse photography used here, combining with airbrushing the modern day setting into 1992 Alcasser. It’s a small touch but something that feels like a Netflix specialty when it comes to the production design.
It won’t be for everyone and The Alcasser Murders can feel a little overwhelming at times, especially with its overlapping dialogue and facts, all told in Spanish. If you can take to the story though, there’s an engrossing, shocking true crime documentary here to add to the growing Netflix catalogue. If you do find yourself overwhelmed though, I highly recommend checking out the Wikipedia page on this. The case is certainly worthy of a Netflix documentary though and the episodes themselves are well-paced and highly engaging. Whether you’ll stick it out for the long run or not is still up for debate but if you’re looking for your next true crime fix and don’t mind some of the questionable design decisions here, The Alcasser Murders is certainly worth your time.
Verdict - 7/10