The devil's backbone

The devil's backbone

DVD - 2002 | Spanish
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Twelve-year-old Carlos is the latest arrival to Santa Lucia School, an imposing stone building that shelters the orphans of the Republican militia and politicians during the last days of the Spanish Civil War. Carlos gradually uncovers the dark ties that bind the inhabitants of the school: hidden riches, sexual intrigue, and the restless ghost of a murdered student. Presented by Agustin and Pedro Almodovar (All About My Mother) and starring Marisa Paredes (The Flower Of My Secret), Federico Luppi (Men With Guns) and Eduardo Noriega (Open Your Eyes). The Devil's Backbone is a richly atmospheric, genuinely thrilling ride in the tradition of The Others and The Sixth Sense.
Publisher: Culver City, Calif. : Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, [2002], c2001
Branch Call Number: DVD DEV Wor
Characteristics: 1 (or 2) videodisc(s) (103 min.) : Dolby digital Surround stereo. sd., col. ; 12 cm

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r
richmole
Oct 24, 2018

Wikipedia calls this a "gothic horror film." Well, okay, that's the genre. But this terrific movie goes far, far beyond its obvious "ghost story" classification.

Here's why: master film-maker Guillermo del Toro--the producer, director and one of the film's three script-writers--used the story's supernatural underpinnings to accentuate very HUMAN behaviour, uses it to underscore the horrors of the very real world--war, betrayal and the dehumanization effect of loss and deprivation.

4.5 stars, for the richness of the visuals, the cinematography, editing and the narrative's careful pacing. Oh--and the very good performances del Toro elicits from a terrific cast (including half a dozen boys under the age of 15) and the exquisite performance of Spanish star, María Luisa Paredes, in the role of the boys' boarding school Principal.

I found the story's finale is too pat and predictable, however, so no 5-star rating. But very close! A terrific movie overall.

y
yumsushi
Dec 30, 2017

A touching and complex ghost story. Truly enjoyed it.

s
SF_READER
Jan 28, 2017

A very good gothic-horror / drama movie from Guillermo Del Torro.

m
Matisse
Oct 01, 2015

A very effective ghost story for people who don't like scary movies.

k
kcartagena
Aug 11, 2015

The best ghost story ever!

n
Nursebob
Jan 22, 2015

During the Spanish Civil War a group of abandoned orphans witness firsthand man's propensity to inflict suffering upon others. Nightmare visions of a ghostly child compete with macabre images of violence and death......an unexploded bomb in a playground, a dead fetus in a jar, burned bodies covered in rubble. The film seems balanced on the edge of a spiritual abyss and even the faint glint of humanity at the end does little to dispel the darkness. "The Devil's Backbone" is both haunted and haunting.....well worth seeing.

j
jaqmartial1
Dec 27, 2014

Great film...if you watch this film after the "headless woman" it will not be slow at all...great acting as well.

s
sweetsoo
Apr 13, 2014

Well worth putting up with the subtitles. A riveting movie.

k
karmafarmer
Sep 02, 2013

Top notch actors -children included- and a great ghost story. I probably would have rated it higher if I had not already seen it's companion film "Pan's Labyrinth" [so impressed by that one I bought my own copy]. I will have to track down the original release for the commentary; the one included here has Del Toro off on a tangent for the first hour, more of a passionate history lecture on gothic romance. The man is almost a genre of his own.

r
Ron@Ottawa
Apr 16, 2013

The Spanish Civil War was used as a backdrop to this story and the stage is an orphanage run by an older couple. It is a 'ghost story', and there are scenes that are reasonably scary. But you don't jump out of your seat. The story was told in a subdued, poetic fashion and the cast of children was well selected and they all acted well. Just a very well executed film by Mexican director Guillermo del Toro. Spanish with subtitles.

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SF_READER
Jan 28, 2017

SF_READER thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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