Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Devil's Backbone - 2001 ***

Guillermo del Toro is one of those interesting directors, because he can bring out either a masterpiece (Pan's Labyrinth) or a pretty dire effort (Cronos), as well as a load in between that don't sway you much either way.

The Devil's backbone was bizarre. And I won't deny that it had some very frightening parts, and one of the cutest little boys I've ever seen in a Spanish film, but the story didn't flow right for me, it didn't connect, and I think that is what let it down.

The young boy Carlos, is sent to an orphanage towards the end of the Civil War, and is given the bed of a boy named Santi who died due to a mysterious explosion in the orphanage years ago. Carlos begins to see him as a ghost, but no one else does, and he realises that this is Santi's way of trying to get Carlos to avenge his death, and in the process of doing so, he uncovers some rather terrifying facts about his new home, and the people who live in it.

Del Toro has obviously stolen quite a bit from this for his later work 'The Orphanage' which features several similar ghostly scenes which send shivers down your spine. The war going on around them is significant, but it doesn't quite overpower the story like it did in 'Pan's Labyrinth' and I feel too much time is taken up with pointless scenes that don't add much to the storyline.

Worth a watch for a die hard Del Toro fan however.

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