in about 100 words or less
Mexico/Spain 106m, Colour
Director: Guillermo del Toro; Cast: Eduardo Noriega, Marisa Paredes, Federico Luppi, Íñigo Garcés, Fernando Tielve, Irene Visedo, Berta Ojea
Set in Spain in 1939, during the Spanish Civil War, The Devil’s Backbone is the predecessor to Pan’s Labyrinth, and like the later film, this multi-layered story is also largely seen through the viewpoint of the child. In filming much of the story in broad daylight, del Toro visually distinguishes The Devil’s Backbone from most other horror films which are set in darkened places. Likewise, he demonstrates, through the actions of the living, that there are things more frightening than ghosts in this world. The extraordinary attention to visual details and the richness of the historical context are rarely so well conceived and employed in film-making, let alone in the horror genre – which are but a few of the reasons why this is such an exceptional production (Klaus Ming May 2010).