Reviewing "The Devil's Backbone"
I should have watched this movie years ago. It is one of the best and most tragic ghost movies. I just saw this movie a month ago. The Devil's Backbone is the story of a young boy orphaned by the Spainish civil war. He is left in a large, broke orphange with ties to the resistance. The boys in the orphanage are starving, despite the best efforts of those who run it. The young hero meets the ghost that haunts the orphange as soon as he enters it. He follows the ghost, but its secrets are kept hidden until the end of the film. The most compelling feature in this film is the way in which Del Toro intertwines the characters' lives and stories turning the most mundane movements into a kind of art. The ghost in this story is a hero as well. It warns the boys of the many horrors ahead. They are the horrors of the world of living and this movie reminds us that what we should fear most isn't what lurks in the shadows of old buildings, but what comes charging at us in broad daylight.
Although this movie was given lukewarm reviews, I believe it is a classic ghost tale that brings the dead to life and celebrates the power of life to triumph in the face of death.