With the ‘Beast from the East’ currently sweeping across Europe and making going outside both pointless and unpleasant, why not stay in and have the living daylights scared out of you by a film?
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Released on Netflix this Monday (26 February), viewers and critics are raving about Verónica – a Spanish subtitled horror film directed by Paco Plaza, who fright fans will remember as the director of the REC franchise that started in 2007.
Verónica tells the story of a young girl (no prizes for guessing her name) who is tasked with basically raising her younger siblings in the absence of her mother, who works too hard, and her father, who is dead.
When Verónica and her mates are messing around with a ouija board during a solar eclipse (as you do) trying to summon the spirits of a dead friend, they accidentally disturb the spirit of her aforementioned dead father, and then – crucially – something else.
What follows is a film full of stuff hiding in the shadows, things moving around without being asked to move around and there is even a blind nun thrown in for good measure – think The Exorcism of Emily Rose in 1990s Madrid.
It’s a psychologically creepy affair from start to finish and will leave the viewer not only needing fresh trousers, but also wondering what exactly was and wasn’t real, who was and wasn’t dead, and why on earth you would mess about with a Ouija board during an eclipse (seriously though, why?).
The film is supposedly based on a true story from Madrid’s police files in the early 1990s and premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival to positive reviews.
The critics have backed these reviews up and it currently has a 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which doesn’t happen too often.
A lot of praise has been reserved for the actor in the title role, Sandra Escacena. Review website Reelfilm said: “Newcomer Escacena’s strong turn as the tortured protagonist surely plays a key role in the movie’s success, while the low-key (yet rather thrilling) climactic stretch ensures that Verónica ends on a decidedly (and exceedingly) positive note – with the film ultimately a cut above many of the similarly-themed horror flicks pouring out of Hollywood as of late.”
Despite it being scary as hell, lots of people are managing to get through it – and some want Paco Plaza to be given more money and a more mainstream stage for his next film.
There you go then – that’s this evening sorted. Just sleep with the lights on tonight.