Jonathan White’s review published on Letterboxd:
Just a very quick take, as I don't think I can put into words the feelings I had for this masterpiece upon this first watch.
It was a simple prod from my LB friend Kano ( Steven Sheehan to you newcomers ) that lead me to check it out sooner, rather than later, after my watch of Del Toro's debut, Cronos.
I don't think I've ever seen such progression from a freshman to sophomore directorial effort. While I ended up liking Cronos quite a bit despite it's unconventional quirks ( I'm looking at you, Ron Perlman ) I wasn't prepared for the completely enveloping atmospheric cinematography and characters that Del Toro brought for Devil's Backbone. It took me straight to one of my favourites of all time ... Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's The City of Lost Children from 6 years before .... starring Del Toro regular Ron Perlman! What's up with that!
All this to say that it's sparked an unplanned rewatch of my first Del Toro, and one I remember loving, Pan's Labyrinth, tonight.