The Devil's Backbone

  • 15
  • Guillermo del Toro (2001)
  • Sp / Mex (SUB)
  • 107 min
The Devil's Backbone
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Set near the end of the Spanish Civil War, this bone-chilling allegorical ghost story sees ten-year-old Carlos (Fernando Tielve) sent to a remote orphanage that is reputedly haunted by the ghost of a dead boy - "he who sighs". There he uncovers a secret involving the sadistic young caretaker (Eduardo Noriega), who surely represents fascism in the film's vivid metaphor for the war. Mexican director Guillermo del Toro makes less overt use of his background in make-up effects - unlike his previous creepshows Cronos and Mimic - and instead relies on the power of suggestion and sound for the chilling, ever-present horror, as the fates of the orphans and their guardians become tragically inter-linked. Though the whodunnit takes a fairly predictable course, the Spanish Civil War background adds powerful narrative and symbolic weight, while the striking imagery - most notably, the presence of an unexploded bomb in the yard - is simply poetic. It's produced by Pedro Almodóvar's company, El Deseois

Plot Summary

Period supernatural horror from Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro. Spain in the late 1930s: ten-year-old Carlos is haunted by the ghostly presence of a dead boy (known as "he who sighs") at a remote orphanage. There are dark secrets there, and it is up to the orphans to unlock them before tragedy strikes again.

Cast and crew

Cast

Carmen
Marisa Paredes
Jacinto
Eduardo Noriega (2)
Casares
Federico Luppi
Carlos
Fernando Tielve
Jaime
Iñigo Garcés
Conchita
Irene Visedo
Alma
Berta Ojea

Crew

Director
Guillermo del Toro

Other Information

Language: 
Spanish +subtitles
Colour
Theatrical distributor: 
Optimum Releasing
Guidance: 
Violence, swearing, sex scenes.
Available on video, DVD and BluRay
Released 30 Nov 2001
Certificate 15
Categories
Drama

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