Murder by the Coast 2021 Movie Review
A murder, an arrest and conviction, and a miscarriage of justice are at the heart of Murder by the Coast, a new Netflix true-crime documentary from Spain.
Murder by the Coast (El caso Wanninkhof-Carabantes) is the first documentary film that examines, more than 20 years later, the infamous Wanninkhof-Carabantes case, reviewing it from the judicial, police, political, media, sociological, and gender perspectives.
The real-life events chronicled in the film begin with the murder of Rocío Wanninkhof in October 1999, a month before the Dutch-Spanish girl’s 20th birthday, in her hometown of Mijas in Málaga, on Spain’s Costa del Sol.
The ensuing media circus and public outcry to find her killer — a campaign steeped in discrimination and prejudice — greatly influenced the criminal investigation, which culminated in the arrest of Dolores Vázquez, a former partner of Wanninkhof’s mother. At the court trial, the jury found Vázquez guilty, despite there being no evidence linking her to the girl’s murder.
Then the lifeless body of another teen girl, Sonia Carabantes, was found in 2003. This time, the police caught the actual killer — found to be the same person who murdered Rocío Wanninkhof. But but this time, society has already turned the page on Dolores Vázquez…
A production of Brutal Media, the documentary is written and directed by Barcelona Film Awards nominee Tania Balló (200 Km.).
The investigative work undertaken by the production team, a total of 45 people through the project’s various phases, took two years to complete. Their work included: conducting 50 hours of recorded interviews with more than 60 people related to the case; reviewing judgments, minutes, summaries, and reports from more than 20 volumes and nearly 5,000 pages of information on the case.
Combing through the entire national and regional Spanish press between 1999 and 2006, as well as British press between 1985 and 1991, for coverage of the case; and viewing more than 300 hours of archive footage of the case from all Spanish and British television channels. In addition, the content in Beatriz Gimeno’s book, La construcción de la lesbiana perversa (The Construction of the Perverse Lesbian), was key to forming the theoretical basis of the documentary.