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Familiar But Beautifully Intense: Thoughts on Verónica, a Spanish Horror Film

Veronica (Spanish: Verónica), a film by Paco Plaza who is best known for writing and directing the REC film series debuted in the Contemporary World Cinema section of the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

Since it’s surprise release on Netflix late last month, the film has been dubbed as Netflix’s ‘scariest movie ever’. Why, you ask? Honestly, I don’t see it that way but that doesn’t erase the fact that Verónica is a good horror film worth the stream.

I’m guessing people were terrified by the real story. You see, Paco Plaza’s Verónica is inspired by the “Vallecas Case” which took place in a small suburb in Madrid way back in 1991. Having an actual case adds authenticity even though the film deviates from it in many ways.

Verónica
Written and Directed by Paco Plaza

Madrid, 1991. A teen girl finds herself besieged by an evil supernatural force after she played Ouija with two classmates.

Just from the synopsis, you can already tell that Verónica has a simple and an oh-so familiar premise that’s very predictable. Any story that involves Ouija board leads to demonic possessions and violent hauntings. But what really matters is how this type of story is delivered.

In Verónica’s case, Plaza was able to deliver a familiar but beautifully intense horror thriller. I call it that because it wasn’t gory which is the “normal” direction for stories like this. There was blood and all; however, the possession, haunting and death were compellingly emphasized.

It’s also fair to say that not only was I drawn to the material and how it was told but also to the performances. There is, of course, Sandra Escacena as Verónica. Her character was well-developed and grounded that you dare not question anything about her or her family set up. There is something about her that makes you accept her character. The younger actors who played her younger siblings were good, too.

The only problem I encountered are the ridiculous moments such as asking the youngest sibling to draw protective symbols on the walls. He did draw them but he flipped the page and drew another symbol – Invocation which means to draw a spirit into one’s body. Another one is “Sister Death”. Yes, there should always be someone experienced in the field but can we leave the nuns alone please?!

So, are you ready to stream Verónica on Netflix?

You can do it! IMDb 8/10

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