International Horror Film Review: Veronica (dir by Paco Plaza)

Agck!  Seriously, dear readers, don’t mess with Ouija boards.

That’s really the main lesson that’s to be learned from the 2017 Spanish film, Veronica.  Taking place in 1991 and based on a true story (No, it really is!), Veronica tells the story of a 15 year-old girl named …. well, Veronica (Sandra Escacena).  Veronica lives in a nice but cluttered apartment with her three younger siblings and her mother.  Ever since the death of her father, Veronica’s life has pretty much centered around going to school and looking after her siblings.  While her friends get to experience life and mature and develop, Veronica seems to be trapped in that one apartment with her responsibilities.  Veronica is a good babysitter and she appears to puts up with a lot without losing her temper.  You can’t help but sympathize with her.

One day, during a solar eclipse, Veronica and two friends sneak into the school’s basement.  While all of the other students watch the eclipse while under the strict supervisions of the nuns, Veronica and her friends use a Ouija board in an attempt to hold a séance.  Veronica wants to talk to the spirit of her father.  Instead, a very different spirit shows up and Veronica faints.

When Veronica wakes up, things have changed.  Her friends now seem scared to be around her and they refuse to talk about what happened during the séance.  When Veronica returns home, she feels like she and her siblings are not alone in the apartment.  She starts to have disturbing dreams, in which the children are in danger and a dark shadow is stalking her.  Veronica becomes convinced that an evil creature is after her and her family.  A blind nun known as Sister Death tells Veronica that the only way to get rid of the spirit is “by doing right what you did wrong.”  Cryptic advice is always the best advice, right?

Veronica knows that she has to do something but what?  With the children starting to suffer from mysterious injuries, Veronica tries to figure what she did wrong so that she can fix it.  But, as you probably already guessed, she’s not going to like the answer….

Veronica is an effectively chilling horror film.  I’ve seen it described as being “the scariest film on Netflix” but I wouldn’t quite go that far.  It didn’t make me jump, though it did make look over my shoulder a few times just to make sure there wasn’t anything sneaking up behind me.  Veronica is, however, a film that very much gets under your skin.  If you’ve ever had to look after a child (let alone three children) and feared that you might not be up to the task, you’ll be able to relate to Veronica and her terror.  It’s not just about bringing a bad spirit into the world.  Nor is it just about the fact that Ouija boards are inherently creepy.  Instead, it’s all about protecting those children and the gradual realization that, despite all of your best efforts, there are some bad things in the world that you can’t just wish away.  The evil spirit that follows Veronica into the world is not just a paranormal monster.  Instead, it’s a metaphor for every fear that anyone has ever had while growing up.  It’s the fear of not being good enough.  It’s the fear of missing out on life.  It’s the fear and resentment that comes from living in a world that is inherently unfair.

Veronica is an intelligent and thoughtful horror film, one that is blessed with a great performance from Sandra Escacena in the title role.  It’s on Netflix.  Just look for the blind nun.

One response to “International Horror Film Review: Veronica (dir by Paco Plaza)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 10/19/20 — 10/25/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

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