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The Devil's Backbone 2001

  • Guillermo del Toro
  • September 2, 2001
  • 106 mins
  • Spanish; Castilian
  • Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller
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.


All 3 Comments

Image 3.75 / 4.25 5 Sound / 5 very stylish Guillermo del Toro, Eduardo Noriega restless than the bomb

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Carlos has to go to the orphanage because his dad dies in war. Soon after his arrival he meets the ghost of another orphan who died recently. More drama than horror but some nice pictures, decent acting and interesting way to tackle at the subject "ghost story".

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Del Toro's best film and a wonderful companion piece to Pan's Labyrinth, both in terms of motifs and themes and a rather depressing narrative connection concerning the fates of two central characters from this film. As a film in it's own right, this combines elements of a Gothic ghost story and coming of age drama set during the Spanish Civil War. The opening prologue questioning what a ghost is indicates from the beginning that this is not simply out to scare people and del Toro subverts expectations from the initial setup as the story takes unexpected turns, pulls no punches in showing where the true horror lies and develops each character in interesting ways during the story. The film is beautifully shot and designed with the cool atmospheric and creepy night time scenes contrasting with the warm yet harsh arid daytime moments. All the performances are great, but in particular the young Fernando Tielve as the central protagonist portraying a quiet resolve and bravery despite his fears.

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