With Verónica being billed as the scariest film currently on Netflix – you could be forgiven for thinking that it was some kind of marketing ploy to up the views. How could Verónica ever live up to that billing? Well, horror much like comedy is subjective and whilst one person finds clowns scary, the next finds supernatural horror or religious horror as the thing that gets under their skin, so you can’t quantify a statement like that. Is Verónica scary? For me yes, it sure had it moments.
Based on a true story, Verónica is about the titular character, a teenager forced to look after her young siblings as her mother is always working and trying to provide money for the household. Verónica and her friends hold a seance during an eclipse in an attempt to try and contact her dead father. Of course as we all know you don’t fuck with Ouija boards because bad things happen. Something answered Verónica and now it follows her.
Director Paco Plaza builds this film up slowly before turning it up to eleven for small sections of the film. Plaza knows how to play his audience and even for veteran horror fans there are actually one or two surprise scares (and a few very predictable ones). The use of shadows and light in this film is near perfect, mirroring the style of an eclipse in some parts – which is a cool call back – whilst keeping the effects to a bare minimum, grounding the film in reality. The way the story is structured sets you up for an ending that I found to be bit more emotional than expected but I think that is a good thing.
Sandra Escacena who plays Verónica is great. A very good performance that has her balancing the teenage aspect of her character versus what is happening to her. The film is carried on her shoulders and she does it seemingly with ease. Her siblings in the film put in fantastic performances for children, whether it is fear or just being your average child under ten they nail it and are all excellent. There is a blind nun character that is basically an exposition machine and the film could have really done without that character, she looked cool but beyond that was not needed.
I feel for this film. Getting the notoriety from social media which on the one hand is great that people are being made aware of it but on the other it is without a doubt going to set peoples expectations way too high and there will be a ‘this movie sucks’ movement because this is how the world is now and people are generally the worst. However, Verónica is absolutely well worth your time, its a film that has a few new ideas, relies on some old tropes but at the end of the day it is entertaining and got some shivers running down my spine.
Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78