Romancero 2023 / An atmospheric horror mystery that forgets to provide a reason to follow the breadcrumbs


While Romancero’s story certainly promises to grow deeper over the course of its six-episode run, the first two episodes that were watched for this review don’t provide much reason to get invested. The series clings to the original appeal of binge-able streaming—it practically demands we watch it all in one sitting—but it also forgets to fulfill the episodic demands of television: that every installment communicate something coherent or at least add something to the whole. And while Romancero does have a persistent eeriness about it, even its horror elements don’t create enough intrigue or a sense of danger (at least in these first episodes).

The show’s decision to throw viewers directly into the action in medias res—no explanations, no initial character establishment—is exciting at first, but quickly saps the narrative of suspense. Similar to the two kids who are shown running from a horde of people in the night in the first episode, Romancero at first doesn’t seem like it’s heading towards anything in particular. It’s a real case of either you’re in or you’re out, and for this writer, the show’s opening moves aren’t enough.

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