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The Devil’s Backbone

Posted by Player under Horror

The Devil's BackboneUndoubtedly Guillermo del Toro’s best film, The Devil’s Backbone is an engaging thriller that features both a good story and interesting characters.

The story is set in a country side orphanage in which the sons of communist rebels are taken in while their fathers partake in the Spanish Civil War. The newly arrived Carlos, is a reasonably bright boy who immediately falls prey to the older Jaime. But whatever conflict the boys have, is but minor due to the real turmoil that is building all around them, namely the spirit of the one who sighs, Santi. The dead Santi takes an interest in Carlos and while the adult world does not acknowledge the dead spirit, Carlos knows that there is no denying the spirit world and its connection to everything. He soon seeks out Santi if for no other reason but to understand his own surroundings.

If Santi is the supernatural, then Dr. Caseras and the Lady Carmen are science and reason. The old doctor helps explain to the boys the world from both a logical and artistic view, he is their stern, but fair father, while Lady Carmen is the rule of law, obedience and the necessity of survival. The two try to shelter the boys from war, but there is no hiding the loss and damage that the war has done to them all, from Lady Carmen’s amputated leg, to the boy’s separation from their family, the war will take its toll on all. In the end, the boys are to be abandoned, and only what their surrogate father and mother taught them will help them survive.

The Devil’s Backbone is not an action film like Hellboy or Blade 2, but it is nonetheless a very good film with superb acting, and it is Guillermo del Toro’s best work.

5 out 5 stars

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