31 Days of Horror: El espinazo del diablo

El espinazo del diablo aka The Devil's Backbone (2001) was director Guillermo del Toro's stab at a creepy little ghost story that he made after his disastrous attempt at making a Hollywood horror film - Mimic (1997). Where he failed in Hollywood he succeeds here in this low budget Mexican/Spanish gothic horror film.

The story takes place in 1939 Spain during the civil war. A new boy named Carlos (Fernando Tielve) arrives at an orphanage thinking that it's temporary stay while his father is off fighting in the war. The orphanage is a creepy old place - there's a defused bomb sitting in the middle of the courtyard and in one of the buildings is a basement with a man made pool of water filled with the most disgusting looking muddy yellow brown water that you ever saw.

Some terrible things have happened at the orphanage and it becomes quickly clear that the place is haunted. The ghost is one of the orphan boys and Carlos is drawn into finding out what happened to him.

Del Toro is a really gifted director - he knows how to build tension and to tell a tale to make your hair stand on end. But he seems to lose his gift when he's making Hollywood movies. Films like Blade 2 and Hellboy are all right but they are nothing compared to his independent film ventures like Pan's Labyrinth and this film.

No comments: