‘Holy Family’ Review: Spain Strikes Again with Another Crime Thriller

Spain has been one of Netflix‘s most aggressive sources of content in recent memory. The international success of Money Heist was something that could not be ignored, and it served as the jumping-off point, for now, a collection of movies and shows that have arrived on the platform looking for the same success. Of course, to do such a thing might be impossible. Hits like Money Heist only come once in a lifetime, but there is no reason not to try it out once more. Holy Family is that new show, and it is ready to leave you on the edge of your seat.

Holy Family is a TV series developed for Netflix and created by Manolo Caro, who was also responsible for creating The House of the Flowers and Someone Has To Die. The series stars Najwa Nimri, Alba Flores, Carla Campra, Macarena Gomez, Alex Garcia, and Laura Laprida. The series tells the story of Gloria, the mother, and leader of a very strange family, as she appears to be normal in front of her friends and neighbors. However, with the arrival of a new mother in the neighborhood, the secrets start to unravel.

Holy Family is a strange family drama, one full of mysteries, twists, and revelations that will grab most audiences from beginning to end. Caro has really managed to create a show that feels intriguing and dangerous in equal measure. The nature of Gloria’s family is not only something that will make the audience ask questions, but it is also one that, as the answer begins to appear, it is clear that we might be facing a very dangerous person. This only results in the fact that all the characters are basically villains, and only the kids are truly innocent.

The definition of a family will be challenged in basically every episode. Still, the series never goes completely arrayed, some limits should never be broken, and for those that do, only hell awaits. Caro’s script is functional; there is nothing really amazing about the writing; the dialogues serve both as exposition and character-building tools in equal measure, that is it. The plot flows at a very good pace, and with only eight episodes in the season, the show never overstays its welcome.

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However, the middle of the season might sag a little, as is usual for almost everything story. Creating a second act that is filled with astounding developments is a very hard thing to do. Caro and his team of filmmakers almost achieve the goal, but there is still the sensation that the plot might have taken more than a necessary turn here and there to arrive at the expected conclusion. Some stories need to be stretched out to adhere to a quota, which hurts the stories more often than not.

The show’s biggest assets are its actors. Nimri became a fan favorite thanks to her role in Money Heist, and here, the actress keeps pushing her charisma as the best tool she has to develop one of the darkest characters in her career. Nimri’s charisma is unmatched, but she is in very good company in this series. Alba Flores, who also became a fan favorite thanks to her role as Nairobi in Money Heist, has more of a supporting role here. Still, the actress seizes every opportunity to match and surpass every other actor on the scene.

The rest of the cast does amazingly well; for example, the always-great Macarena Gomez is ready to chew on the scene without any remorse, and we love her for it. At the same time, newcomers such as Laura Laprida and Carla Campra have the chance to explore weirder characters than usual. Holy Family is a very female-centric story, so it makes sense that the male roles are left behind somehow in the wind. Maybe a bit more balance on that front could have helped the story to feel stronger than it is.

Visually, the show is very well-made. Manolo Caro also takes the role of director, and while some visual choices feel too on the nose, he does a great job at preserving a dangerous atmosphere that accompanies the characters wherever they go. No one is safe, and the camera work and the editing greatly enhance this feeling. We should all be thankful that Caro and his team are making such an effort here. The atmosphere is something that is often forgotten in exchange for an ever-moving plot that could result in exhaustion.

In the end, Holy Family manages to do exactly what it wanted, to trap you in the story of a family that shouldn’t be. This strange concept only evolves and keeps on going as the series progresses. The story raises some very interesting moral problems, and towards the end, it might not give you the answers you’re expecting. However, that is fine because what will define whether this story is good or not is something very personal that will arise from each audience member.

SCORE: 8/10

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.