The Devil's Backbone
The living will always be more dangerous than the dead.
After losing his father, 10-year-old Carlos arrives at the Santa Lucia School, which shelters orphans of the Republican militia and politicians, and is taken in by the steely headmistress, Carmen, and the kindly professor, Casares. Soon after his arrival, Carlos has a run-in with the violent caretaker, Jacinto. Gradually, Carlos uncovers the secrets of the school, including the youthful ghost that wanders the grounds.
First of all this has got to be one of my favorite poster's ever. It's absolutely amazing. Can someone hook me up with a link to where I can buy it?
As far as the movie goes, del Toro has once again created a brilliant atmospheric fantasy world with a great ghost story attached to it.
I am so ready for Crimson Peak!
"What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber."
Directed by Del Toro, this ghost story is set during the Spanish civil war and centres on a boy who arrives at a home for orphans in a remote part of Spain. The orphanage is ran by an older couple who are also helped out by a young male groundskeeper and a young female teacher who appears to be involved with the groundskeeper. The older couple are helping the Republican loyalists and are using the orphanage to hide a…
The story is set in a Spanish orphanage during the last gaps of the Civil War. Carlos, a twelve years old boy, begins to have visions of a ghost child (Santi) who once was murdered at the orphanage. Through Carlos, the ghost of Santi will seek to avenge his death.
Whilst this is part of my horror films challenge, I wouldn't consider it a real horror film since the drama is way heavier than the actual horror. Yet, what's so magical about del Toro's film is the way he conjugates the two genres, the balance he creates between the drama of a boy who is sent to an orphanage after the death of his father, the adversities he faces while…
Ghosts as an allegory for a tragic event. An ever present looming reminder of the past. The world can fall around outside but in here we're still haunted. More sad than scary but flowing with atmosphere murkier than a jar of fetus rum.
Real talk though that stock scream sound was embarrassing. But if that's the only real flaw something must have been done right.
The second best Guillermo del Toro movie set during the Spanish Civil War that has a young protagonist and combines horror elements with drama.
Another in my Cinemonster’s Hoop-Tober 2.0 Challenge
This film of del Toro's might turn out to be the best film I'm watching for this challenge. True, it might not be a horror film but it sure is shit a fantastic ghost story.
Everything about the film is pretty damn great; direction, photography, art direction... Even the CGI still works and this was released in 2001.
Eric pointed out last night that he thinks del Toro should stick to this genre of film shot in the director's native language. I think this movie is still his best. However, I reserve the right to change my mind after I finally get to see Crimson Peak.
If you haven't seen The Devil's Backbone, I would recommend you watch it. Soon. It would go well with any Halloween movie watching you are planning to do this month.
Guillermo Del Toro's films can be easily grouped into four groups in my mind: The shallow disappointments (Mimic and Hellboy), the really fun shallow pulp films (Hellboy II, Blade II, and Pacific Rim), the serious-minded pulp films (Crimson Peak, some parts of Cronos, and this film), and the masterpieces (Pan's Labyrinth and the rest of Cronos).
The best way to describe The Devil's Backbone in this context is to say that it's pretty good serious-minded pulp, but it proves more than any other film of his that Del Toro's grasp on what makes a plot mysterious or compelling usually isn't nearly as on-point as his grasp on atmosphere and how to make the world of a film compelling. The setting and characters in this film are pretty fascinating, and the plot isn't, so it's a shame that Del Toro made this a plot-driven film. Abstraction would have been a better approach in this case.
Another interesting movie from Guillermo Del Toro. The Devil's Backbone is unique because for a movie claiming to be horror this movie has very minimal supernatural or horror elements. Ultimately, though I felt that was one of it's greatest strengths. The Devil's Backbone is more akin to an interesting character study. In many moments in the movie I felt that the movie was about to go the standard horror movie route, but much to my pleasant surprise the movie decided to go a different route. I don't want to spoil much in my review because this is a movie that is best if you go into completely blind. This is also a unique movie in the sense that it's one of those horror movie that I can recommend to just about anyone.
A little bit underwhelming. Some visual effects and directorial choices were really strikingly out of place, given the tone of most of the movie. Never felt truly eerie or anywhere near as spectacular as Pan's Labyrinth. A decent civil war drama that happens to have a ghost knockin' about.
Day 97: The Devil's Backbone - 2001
A boy, abandoned at an orphanage during the Spanish Civil War, encounters the ghost of an orphan with a desire for revenge.
If I'm completely honest, I felt a little underwhelmed by this film. The acting is pretty great (the child actors too, unexpectedly), and the story is interesting as well. I just found it difficult to connect with or care about any of the characters. There was also too many unnecessary (and unconvincing) CGI effects too. In particular there is an explosion with an obviously computer generated piece of debris that flies right at the camera like a cheap gimmick in a 3D movie. It's more a drama, with tinges of horror, but it's still worth watching. There are many worse ways to spend 100 minutes.
A ghost story that is not only effectively chilling but also incredibly emotional, Guillermo del Toro creates an intimate and masterful study of youth, politics, fears, death, and truth.
What a haunting, dark, but also moving Gothic film. I can never really call Guillermo del Toro's films "horror" - they are always so much more than that, and The Devil’s Backbone is no exception. Masterfully done and filled with powerful metaphor.
Guillermo del Toro's style permeates every inch of this film. Gothic, meticulous, haunting...
Similar any many ways to Pans Labyrinth and defined as a companion to that film by Guillermo himself. From the setting, the Spanish Civil War, to events unfolding from the perspective of a child.
The first 1012 films are from The 1,000 Greatest Films list, and maintain the original order. The films that follow…