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The Devil's Backbone (El Espinazo del Diablo) (2001)

  Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Written by: Guillermo del Toro, David Muñoz, Antonio Trashorras
Starring: Federico Luppi, Eduardo Noriega, Marisa Paredes, Fernando Tielve
Links: The Devil's Backbone on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Suspense/Horror/Thriller

This movie gets: 6.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"So-so suspense" - a review by pearly

This story centres around Carlos (Fernando Tielve), a 10 year old boy who is left at an orphanage by his tutor towards the end of a war. Carlos finds himself amongst a group of other orphaned and abandoned boys in the middle of nowhere, and there is a secret in the orphanage's past that, with nothing else to do, Carlos attempts to discover. Many of the boys are sure there is a ghost at the orphanage ("the one who sighs"), and Carlos soon has his own encounters with the ghost, who tells him to leave or "many of you will die".

The Devil's Backbone relies heavily on suspense-filled situations, and although I was warned prior to entering the theatre that it was a horror film, I would describe it much more as suspense than horror. Or perhaps I just have a high tolerance level (the movie does have its fair share of blood and guts).

While it is difficult to place them initially, the characters in The Devil's Backbone are definitely split into two groups - the goodies and the baddies. And although it was difficult for me to place myself into the shoes of any of these characters (mainly due to the extreme difference between my life and theirs, rather than because of bad acting or believability), I still found myself feeling strongly about them and their situations.

For me, this movie was interesting to watch, but there was something missing. There's no reason I can point to for recommending that you go and see it, but at the same time, I wouldn't tell you not to see it. It's an adequate film which holds your attention throughout, but is not particularly memorable or brilliant.

pearly gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 27 May 2002

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