THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE

Spooky Spanish Orphanage

Content -4
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: November 21, 2001

Starring: Fernando Tielve, Eduardo
Noriega, Marisa Paredes,
Federico Luppi, Iñigo
Garcés, Irene Visedo, & Junio
Valverde

Genre: Horror

Audience: Older teenagers & adults

Rating: R

Runtime: 106

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics/Sony

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Executive Producer: Agustin Almodóvar & Bertha
Navarro

Producer: Guillermo del Toro & Pedro
Almodóvar

Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Antonio
Trashorras & David Muñoz

Address Comments To:

Michael Barker, Tom Bernard & Marcie Bloom
Co-Presidents
Sony Pictures Classics
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
(212) 833-8833
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com

Content:

(OOO, HH, AbAb, CoCo, B, LLL, VVV, SS, N, A, D, M) Strong occult worldview with humanist, anti-Christian, Communist elements, plus some moral elements borrowed from a biblical worldview; 30 obscenities & no profanities; strong & extreme violence such as gruesome images of corpses & fetuses in jars, blood oozes from wounds, explosions, arson, implied executions, people shown drowning, & brutal murders, plus many scary scenes; depicted fornication; partial nudity & woman in nightgown; alcohol use; smoking; and, lying, stealing & greed rebuked, but revenge is not rebuked.

Summary:

Set during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE is a violent Spanish ghost story that takes place in an orphanage on the outskirts of the hot Spanish plains. The violent twists in THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE become a little too lurid toward the end, and the movie has a strong occult worldview with some humanist, anti-Christian elements.

Review:

THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE is a violent Spanish ghost story where greed is the villain.

Set during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, the movie takes place at an orphanage on the outskirts of the hot Spanish plains. (Apparently, the rain in Spain does not fall on the plains at all, or very little.) A young boy named Carlos is left at the orphanage after his Communist father dies in the war. The headmistress of the school, Carmen, has a wooden leg because of the war. She funnels bars of gold to the Communist revolutionaries, who leave their orphaned boys there. Carlos discovers that the ghost of a boy, who mysteriously vanished, haunts the rundown buildings. Another boy, Jaime, is the prime suspect, but the most evil person turns out to be the merciless caretaker, Jacinto, who wants to get his hands on Carmen’s stash of gold. Everything comes to a violent, bloody end, but the villain gets his just desserts.

The violent twists in THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE become a little too lurid and melodramatic toward the end. The acting by the children is very good, however. Also, the ghosts in this movie are supposed to be real, though the director also uses them metaphorically in a lyrical narration that opens and closes the movie. In addition to its occult worldview, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE shows that both Carmen and the orphanage’s older doctor are humanists who don’t like Christian theism. The doctor has an unrequited love for Carmen, but it is Jacinto who fornicates with Carmen so that he can steal the key that opens the vault where Carmen keeps the gold. Figuratively speaking, therefore, it is Carmen, the doctor and Jacinto who are the real ghosts inhabiting this setting, not the poor boy who died under mysterious circumstances.

In Brief:

Set during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE is a violent Spanish ghost story. It takes place at an orphanage on the outskirts of the hot Spanish plains. A boy named Carlos is left at the orphanage after his Communist father dies fighting. The headmistress, Carmen, who has a wooden leg, funnels bars of gold to the Communist revolutionaries, who leave their orphaned boys there. Carlos discovers that the ghost of a boy haunts the rundown buildings. Another boy, Jaime, is the prime suspect, but the most evil person turns out to be the merciless caretaker, Jacinto, who wants to get his hands on Carmen’s stash of gold. Everything comes to a violent, bloody end, but the villain gets his just desserts.



The violent twists in THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE become a little too lurid toward the end. Also, the ghosts in this movie are supposed to be real, though the director also uses them metaphorically in a lyrical narration that opens and closes the movie. In addition to its occult worldview, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE shows that both Carmen and the orphanage’s older doctor are humanists who don’t like Christian theism.