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The Devil's Backbone (Criterion) back to product details

Without a single redeeming quality
written by nate April 17, 2005 - 10:22 PM PDT
4 out of 16 members found this review helpful
I got this film based on the positive ratings and reviews here, and was surprised to find that it had not a single redeeming quality. I was hoping for intelligent horror (I loved 'Cure', thought 'I'm Not Scared' was pretty good, and found 'Shawn of the Dead' a great horror spoof), and instead got a predictable schlock horror genre piece that happens to be made in Spain. It's not like it has some high points and some low points to balance, it's just flat out bad. Lousy acting, one-sided villains, loud scary orchestral music at all the (in)appropriate moments, no humor, no self-awareness, inconsisteng plot, goop-on gore, and a predictable ending. The setting was nice, but not much use was made of it. It's B-grade horror for 7th grade boys. Yuch.

Which of course brings up the question of why I hated it while other people raved about it. Obviously not everyone should listen to my review. Should you? I'd suggest that you might like this movie if you really like horror as a genre and tend to like Hollywood features but want something a little less polished. I really disliked 'Hidalgo' and the 'Magdelene Sisters' for reasons similar to why I disliked this, so maybe you could use those as touch points. But should you start to watch it and find it unbearable within the first twenty minutes, I'd strongly suggest that you give up and watch something else rather than slogging all the way through it like I foolishly did.

The spanish boogyman
written by DavidandAlison August 7, 2004 - 10:01 PM PDT
3 out of 6 members found this review helpful
This film never really made anything of its interesting setting during the spanish civil war. It's also too bad they couldn't create a real character to do the evil deeds, instead relying on a 'boogyman' character to scare the children (and you). The cinematography is great, the ghosts and the music are creepy, and there are enough plot twists to keep you interested till the end.

written by neoinoakleys November 21, 2003 - 6:48 AM PST
7 out of 8 members found this review helpful
If you are like me, and love the horror genre and the foriegn genre, then this is the movie for you. Del Toro has done a spectacular job with this film. The movie has a great story that leaves you pining for more. The cinematography is beautiful. Unlike most horror films, there is actually a very real story here, with wonderful character development. The horror part of the film almost takes a side seat as the story unfolds. Wonderful film that I would reccommend to anyone.

Sends a chill through your spine.
written by underdog July 22, 2002 - 2:27 PM PDT
9 out of 9 members found this review helpful
Eerie, atmospheric (like all of Del Toro's films) and a bit on the somber side, although it does come to a rather rousing, satisfying conclusion. Depicts the tragedy of the Spanish Civil War especially its affect on orphaned children caught in the middle. The kids are great and it will send shivers down your spine. Well worth watching -- but not with children in tow.


(Average 7.29)
220 Votes
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