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as of: 7/09/05

The Devil's Backbone



out of 10


Guillermo del Toro


Eduardo Noriega .... Jacinto
Marisa Paredes .... Carmen
Federico Luppi .... Casares
Fernando Tielve .... Carlos
Íñigo Garcés .... Jaime
Irene Visedo .... Conchita


This Spanish language film (with English subtitles) is a very effective little ghost story. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, The Devil's Backbone follows young Carlos (Fernando Tielve), whose father has been killed in the Spanish Civil War. He is dropped off at an orphanage for kids like himself whose fathers had died fighting for their cause. As Carlos tries to settle in and adjust to his new surroundings, he at first is picked on by the larger and apparently older Jaime (Íñigo Garcés). This changes as the movie progresses, however. The Principal (Marisa Paredes) is a woman dedicated to the Communist cause, and who has lost both her husband and her leg. She is loved by Dr. Casares, a man who has risked his life and stayed in Spain just to be near her. And she is being screwed (literally and figuratively as it turns out) by 20-something Jacinto (Eduardo Noriega), a man who is after one thing and one thing only. As the days go by, Carlos soon learns that the school is haunted. He starts seeing the ghost of a little boy, and the children call this ghost "the one who sighs". I really enjoyed this one. Director del Toro evokes a creepy atmosphere throughout, and the reason the ghost is there soon becomes apparent. Before giving my final rating, let me deviate just a little and mention the subtitles. I am a firm believer that foreign-language films should be watched using the subtitles instead of dubbing. Dubbing is not even an option on this disc, so if you aren't like me and you must have dubbing, I'd probably stay away. On the other hand, this movie is a very good ghost story and is definitely worth forking over your hard-earned dough for. I give it a solid 7/10.


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