Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Antonio Trashorras, David Munoz (Screenplay)
Starring: Fernando Tielve, Marisa Paredes, Eduardo Noriega, Federico Luppi, Inigo Garces, Irene Visedo, Junio Valverde
Plot: After Carlos, a 12-year-old whose father has died in the Spanish Civil War, arrives at an ominous boy’s orphanage he discovers the school is haunted and has many dark secrets that he must uncover.
Verdict: Brilliant Ghost Story
Story: The Devil’s Backbone starts with the death of a young boy Santi (Valverde) whose body get dumped by the boy who finds him. We move to see Carlos (Tielve) being taken to an orphanage while his father goes off to fight in the Spanish Civil War. It doesn’t take long fr Carlos to see the ghost of Santi but while investigating Carlos makes friends with a couple of boys in the orphanage along with running into the bully Jaime (Garces).
When Santi gives Carlos a warning that many people will die Carlos finds himself in trouble with the janitor as we learn of Dr Casares (Luppi) smart ways of working out which children are working together. Once Carlos has proven he can be trusted he befriends the children as he learns about the adults as well as what is meant to have happened to Santi. All this as the war starts to move closer to the orphanage putting everyone’s life in danger.
The Devil’s Backbone is a film that manages to mix a ghost story, heist and war film genres that make each scene different without forgetting the previous scene. I love the ghost story element because it fits into my favourite idea of haunting to solve or warn. The heist shows how far one man will go to get money and the war side gives the film the tension that something terrible could happen. This is a must for all horror fans and is easily one of the best ghost stories you will see. (9/10)
Fernando Tielve: Carlos is the young boy dropped of at the orphanage as the war continues, he has to deal with normal school issues while being haunted by the ghost of a former student trying to give him a warning about what will happen at the orphanage. Fernando does a good job in the leading role dealing with all of the tragedy of war and being stuck in an orphanage. (8/10)
Federico Luppi: Dr Casares is the man at the orphanage who looks after the student medical side but is also the person the principal turns to when it comes to solving problems the boys could have started. He treats the boys well and shows them all respect and all he asks it to see it in return. Federico does a good job in this wise man supporting role. (7/10)
Marisa Paredes: Carman is the principal at the orphanage that knows how much of a struggle having al of these boys will be and she leaves for her own nightmares of when she lost her leg. Marisa gives a good performance in the authority role without being too strict. (7/10)
Irene Visedo: Conchita is the attractive maid working at the orphanage that is in a relationship with Jacinto but deep down she is still very young at heart and not ready to be part of his evil plan. Irene does make for a good supporting character and shows a strong side by the end of the film. (7/10)
Eduardo Noriega: Jacinto is the janitor of the orphanage but he is trying to rob the safe, when things get out of hand he is responsible for many of the children’s deaths but he just won’t give up on getting his money. Eduardo is a great villain of the piece who is only out for himself as the story unfold, he actually makes you hate him which is what a lot of villains can’t do. (8/10)
Inigo Garces: Jaime is the bully to start with but soon becomes good friends with Carlos, he was with Santi when he was killed and knows who didn’t it but it too scared to speak up about who did it. He gets a chance to make up for his mistakes in the final act as he can help Santi’s spirit finally rest. Inigo does a good job in this role showing mature side even though he is still young at heart. (7/10)
Support Cast: The Devil’s Backbone has a supporting cast that includes the rest of the people inside the orphanage, they don’t get many lines but are important to the final outcome.
Director Review: Guillermo del Toro – Guillermo give us a masterpiece in the ghost film genre that will leave you shocked by the final moment. (10/10)
Horror: The Devil’s Backbone doesn’t hit the full blown scares but when you first see Santi you will be scared. (8/10)
Settings: The Devil’s Backbone keeps most of the setting inside the orphanage which shows how isolated the children are from the rest of the world. (10/10)
Special Effects: The Devil’s Backbone uses great effects to create a new looking ghost which hasn’t been repeated since. (9/10)
Suggestion: The Devil’s Backbone is one for all the horror fans out there to watch, I do feel even the none horror fans will enjoy this. (Watch)
Best Part: The story is brilliant.
Worst Part: Won’t appeal to the subtitle haters out there.
Scariest Scene: Peeping through the key hole.
Believability: No (0/10)
Chances of Tears: No (0/10)
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Oscar Chances: No
Budget: $4.5 Million
Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes
Tagline: What is a ghost?
Trivia: Described by Guillermo del Toro as being a sibling film to Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) (this being the masculine “brother” film, and Pan’s as the feminine “sister” film).
Overall: Brilliant, Magnificent just how many words can I use to describe this?