Today I will be reviewing another Guillermo Del Toro film called The Devil's Backbone. I realize that this movie and Pan's Labyrinth are somewhat the same due to the fact that the main characters are children, it takes place in the same time period, and it mixes the innocence of a child versus the cruelness of the realworld and fantasy world, but this is another good film and I think Del Toro is a very imaginative director so I'm taking the time to review this movie.
Like Pan's Labyrinth, the main character of this film is a young child who is brought to an orphanage with an undetonated bomb in the middle of the courtyard. He is brought here to be cared for and taken care of since his father died in the Civil War. The people who live at the orphanage is the one-legged headmistress, the doctor who fell in love with her, the few children that remain at the orphanage, an evil caretaker who is using everybody, his fiance, and a ghost that has some unfinished affairs that he wants to take care of. Yes, this is a ghost story, but the ghost is not truly meant to be used just to scare the viewers, he is a very important part of the story and helps the film a bit more meaningful.
At first the film seems boring and seems just like the main character, Carlos, is gonna be the outsider and will be picked on by the oldest kid, Jaime, and his little friends.Although this is how it is at first we get more into the story and see that this is a dark horror film with many mysteries to be solved that have to do with gold, a love affair, a missing boy and a ghost that walks the hallways.
The acting in this film is pretty good. The children can be a bit bland, but the main actors, Fernando Tielve, who plays the main actor Carlos, Eduardo Noriega, the evil caretaker, and Federico Luppi, Dr. Casares are great in their roles. You get the innocence from Tielve and puts on a good performance. Luppi really brings out the sophisticatedness that he's supposed to and you can tell that he is the good guy and very compassionate. Now as in Pan's Labyrinth you have a truly evil person, the caretaker. Noriega plays this part well as a loathesome and hated character, for you will despise him throught the entire movie as much as you're supposed to despise him.
This is supposed to be a horror movie, but there isn't many horror scenes, or at least I wasn't scared. Yes, the ghost does show up and the music goes loud to get you excited and easily scared, but he is not just placed here to scare the viewer, he is incomplete, and the true evil in this movie is the caretaker. The living, in this movie, is far more dangerous than the dead.
The directing is also very good. We have a horror movie that doesn't get by with cheap thrills and has a deep meaning. There is a ton of symbolism in this movie, if you know much about the Spanish Civil War. The acting is also very good and the story is told very well without getting too complicated. Since it's a pretty straightforward storyline, or at least it was to me, some people have said that it doesn't get very exciting. I still thought it was an exciting movie, I wanted to see why the ghost was there, what would happen to all the characters and what was gonna happen in the end.
I think this is another great film directed by Guillermo Del Toro. He knows how to tell a compelling story that will stick in your head way after you have finished watching the movie. This is another Spanish film, so if you don't know Spanish you will have to read subtitles. But this is well worth it. Do not miss this movie. Go rent this movie, and if you like it enough then buy it. I didn't mention the name that much, so to remind you again this movie is called The Devil's Backbone by Guillermo Del Toro.