Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Eduardo Noriega, Marisa Paredes, Federico Luppi
This is really a three-and-a-half-ish-or-so type of movie, but I couldn’t really decide which rating to give it. Like anyone cares about how many stars somebody gives something or not, right? It’s the actual review that tells you what the person thought about the movie. And I liked this one.
The Devil’s Backbone follows a kid as he’s taken to a small town in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. he starts seeing strange reflections and hears stories about a child who used to live there but mysteriously disappeared, he begins to put two and two together and realizes that the ghost of the dead kid is still wandering around the town, looking for vengeance. However, the ghost kid is really a subplot as the war draws closer to the town, bringing fear and greed with it.
Pretty exciting sounding summary, huh? Yep, I’m awesome. But seriously, I went into this movie expecting a ghost story and ended up watching the most interesting and entertaining wartime movie I’ve seen. Of course the ghost kid story intertwines with the rest of the movie, but there’s a large part of the movie where you almost completely forget about him, getting wrapped up in the drama. I’m not usually a fan of historical fiction like this, but it has a gripping story and excellent writing, combined with just enough of the supernatural to make it seem like fiction.
I read something about del Toro saying this was a brother piece to Pan’s Labyrinth, and that definitely makes sense. It’s set in the same time period, and has the same sort of feel to it, though Pan’s Labyrinth has a lot more of a fantasy aspect to it, and I think there are parts in Pan’s Labyrinth that were actually a lot scarier than anything in Devil’s Backbone. This movie lacks the coolest part of Pan, the character design, but keeps all the storytelling and excellent direction, along with surprisingly good child actors. I dunno, maybe Spain has a child acting farm or something.
In any case, I’d recommend seeing this one if you liked del Toro’s other films, and you’d probably like it if you just liked the war or horror genres. Or, you know, good movies. Just make sure you’re in the mood for a heavy film.