Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 1: 31 Days of Horror: The Devil's Backbone

On October 1st, I decided to watch The Devil's Backbone (El espinazo del diablo). I wouldn't categorize it as an extremely scary horror film, but more as a supernatural psychological thriller. It is definitely worth checking out. Also, I completely forgot that I had watched another Guillermo del Toro film besides this one and Pan's Labyrinth. The one I forgot about is The Orphanage (El orfanato). I didn't forget about the movie because it was insane and disturbing and it freaked me out a bit, but I forgot that Guillermo del Toro directed it!

The Devil's Backbone is about a boy, Carlos, who is abandoned by his tutor at the Santa Lucia orphanage, which is located in a severely secluded area and marked by a large non-exploding bomb. This orphanage is the home to orphans of the Republican militia and politicians during the last days of the Spanish Civil War. It is run by a headmistress, Carmen and a kind Professor, Dr. Casares, both who are very sympathetic towards the orphans.

Upon his arrival, Carlos is immediately signaled out for bullying by the schoolhouse bully, Jaime, and the horrible caretaker, Jacinto. Also, he is haunted by the ghost of a young boy named Santi who used to be an orphan there. He continuously seeks out Carlos and warns him that basically all the inhabitants at the orphanage are in danger of death. However, Carlos handles all of this as best he can and gradually gains the respect of Jaime, the courage to stand up to Jacinto, and an understanding of Santi's presence, as well as his warning.

This film is well done. It has scenes that induce a lot of fear, but not in an over-the-top or unnecessary manner. The storyline is interesting and it keeps your attention because of its complexity. The atmosphere of the film is dark and gloomy, which fits the storyline perfectly. I found this film to be very sad. I'd recommend this film to those who enjoyed the films The Sixth Sense (1999), The Changeling (1980), and Pan's Labyrinth (2006).


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