The Devil’s Backbone (2001) (Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Marisa Paredes, Eduardo Noriega, Federico Luppi
Rated: R/Region: B/1:85/1080p/Number of disc: 1
Available from Umbrella Entertainment
The most personal film by Guillermo del Toro (Cronos) is also among his most frightening and emotionally layered. Set during the final week of the Spanish Civil War, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE tells the tale of a ten-year-old boy who, after his freedom-fighting father is killed, is sent to a haunted rural orphanage full of terrible secrets. Del Toro effectively combines gothic ghost story, murder mystery, and historical melodrama in a stylish concoction that reminds us—as would his later Pan’s Labyrinth—that the scariest monsters are often the human ones.
The Devil’s Backbone is a film that seems to get simply lumped in with the horror genre when really it is much more than a simple horror film. In reality, there isn’t much horror outside our ghost. Don’t get me wrong the ghost does play a giant part in what goes on, but the roots of this film runs much deeper than that. This is a story that deals with loss, love, lust, greed, and a number of other deeper things. Del Toro, does a great job here of mixing all of those things into one intriguing story that grips you and takes you along for the ride. There is a lot of tragedy here in a film like this, but it is done is a brilliantly artistic fashion.
If you look for a flaw in the acting you won’t find a single one. Not from major roles to small parts. This really is a well-crafted film. It is, however, a film that won’t be for everyone, especially hardcore horror fans who might expect more of the stuff you expect from the genre than you get here. If you just are interested in seeing a darn fine film, then this is a great choice. We have a great plot, character development, and it is overflowing with emotion. Here, you have the perfect release for such a film. I don’t rate extras alone on releases, but if I did this one would get a perfect score. If you want to see The Devil’s Backbone be sure to pick up this release.
– Audio Commentary by director Guillermo del Toro and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro
– Que Es Un Fantasma: The Making of Devil’s Backbone
– Storyboard comparisons
– Original Theatrical Trailer
– Prologue with Guillermo del Toro
– Behind the Scenes: Spanish Gothic Featurette
– Director’s Notebook
– Deleted Scenes
Quality of Transfer: 100%