I have to admit that YES! I wanted to see this ten years ago and never did and then I forgot about it forever and the other week I put out my thoughts about The Orphanage and my friends added comments like “You have to see Devil’s Backbone” and “OMG Devil’s Backbone is FANTASTIC!!” and such. Then it finally got here and I was watching it thinking “what are these people talking about?” and then it got fucking fantastic and never stopped. After that kind of boring first thirty minutes or so, I was pretty amazed at how much I enjoyed this and this only reaffirmed that Guillermo del Toro has an AMAZING brain and is totally brilliant but I still am a litte hesitant on his next deal: the sci-fi PACIFIC RIM. I have no doubts that it will look amazing but…
Personally, I thought all of the parts surrounding the ghost story aspect of this could have just been left out and we could have just had an awesome, amazingly done murder / drama / mystery story taking place in the Spanish Civil War, but that’s just me. But, anyway, I guess that’s what we got – the watery, bleeding ghost of a small Spanish child creeping around and sighing, wanting vengeance for his untimely death. I mean, I guess that all worked and the kid actors were pretty fantastic but I liked the other story better. The story about the rebels and the gold and the adultery and the shame and then everything blew up and everything got wicked. Bravo and Ole!
If you’re not familiar with this story, like I wasn’t, towards the end of the Spanish Civil War a little boy named Carlos is dropped off at a school out in the desert because his pops has been killed. In the middle of the school is a giant bomb that had been dropped off by enemy planes that never detonated. Also hanging around the school is the ghost of a dead boy who we get a glimpse of being knocked on the head and given the old concrete galoshes to the bottom of a well. To those of you who have seen this – I never caught on, was that the well “drinking” water? If so – gross.
So, enter Carlos and kids being kids, some of them are mean to him and he has an encounter with the ghost and is introduced to “The Devil’s Backbone” (up there) by Doctor Casares who helps run the school with his wife Carmen who may be hiding something from someone. Also on the scene is hot-head been-stuck-there-his-whole-life-poor-bastard Jacinto who is filled with rage and his sweet, sweetness fiance Conchita. Jacinto has something going on that isn’t revealed til much later – but wait! So does Santi! HA HA! What’s up! Like I said, things get pretty bad for everyone about half the way through this but, overall, this is a pretty excellent, well done piece of work from del Toro. If you haven’t seen this, because you forgot, don’t waste any more fucking time and go watch it!!