Devil's Backbone (2001)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Starring Eduardo Noriega Federico Luppi Fernando Tielve Marisa Paredes ═˝igo GarcÚs

2001 was a relatively good year for horror. As if "The Others," "Ginger Snaps," "Jeepers Creepers," and "13 Ghosts" weren't enough, fear filmmaker Del Toro polished the double-zero-one season off with "The Devil's Backbone," one of those rare foreign horror films that actually makes its way into U.S. theaters.

Del Toro was best known in the States for having directed the so-so "Mimic." But his earliest film, the vampire effort "Cronos," enjoyed a nice art-house following. The Mexican director also got the choice job of directing "Blade 2."

"The Devil's Backbone" was the movie he made to ensure he didn't sell out and become a fulltime Hollywood moviemaker. It was also easily among the best horror (and general) movies of 2001.

During the Spanish Civil War, an unexploded bomb lands in the middle of an orphanage. The same evening, one of the boys disappears. When a new child (Fernando Tielve) he begins seeing what is apparently the ghost of the missing boy. He also becomes embroiled in a conflict at the orphanage involving a love triangle, money and the idealism behind the war. Meanwhile, whenever the spirit of the missing boy turns up, blood oozes from his head as if he's underwater.

Del Toro's slow build up climaxes in a crescendo of violence that inevitably brings comparisons to "Lord of the Flies" and maybe even "Island of the Damned." Del Toro delivers a new type of horror film for the new millennium -- a serious one But unlike some filmmakers who took this approach to horror that eschews campiness (Kubrick is one name that springs to mind), Del Toro pulls it off marvelously, crafting a film that is scary, supernatural and believable all at the same time.

In this sense it bears some similarities to another serious ghost story by another Spanish-speaking director from the same year: Amenebar's "The Others." But "The Devil's Backbone" is the superior movie. Amenabar seemed a little out of place directing English-speaking actors. Here, Del Toro is right at home setting his film in Spain and with Spanish actors.

A must see.

<< Back

-- Review by Lucius Gore

Post A Comment About Devil's Backbone

Please Enter the Above Security Code:

Rank this film on a '666 scale' of one to six (left to right).

Based on 2301 votes.

Related Reviews
Devil's Backbone
Race with the Devil
Curse of the Devil
Blade 2
Black Devil Doll
Devil's Rejects
Devil's Nightmare
Nude for Satan
Devil's Daughter
Lisa and the Devil
House of the Devil
Baron Blood
Devil's Daughter ľ TV Movie
Beast of the Yellow Night
Day of the Beast
Day of the Beast
Mark of the Devil
Fear No Evil
Halloween II - 2009
Twins of Evil
To the Devil a Daughter
Pit and the Pendulum
Demons of the Mind
Omen II: Damien
Damien: Omen II
Prince of Darkness
Red State
Devil's Wedding Night
Final Conflict
Omen III: The Final Conflict
Needful Things
Devil's Advocate
Rosemary's Baby