I must admit that I’ve had Veronica on My List in Netflix for a while now ever since I read somewhere that it was the scariest horror film they’ve seen. However, as Netflix populated its roster with more and more Asian dramas which I am addicted to, I forgot about this horror movie until I recently finished The Haunting of Hill House in one day because it was so good. This time around, I was determined to find out if the film lived up to the hype. While it did not scare me out of my socks, it was really very good.
Synopsis: Fifteen year old Veronica is the oldest of four siblings and spends her days looking out for her little brother and sisters in the absence of their mom, who is always busy working. On the day of a solar eclipse, she and her best friend Rosa decide to contact her deceased father through a ouija board seance but things don’t go as planned. Pretty soon, Vero is haunted by an unknown spirit that threatens her and her siblings and it is left to her to keep them safe.
More than the review, I think what drew me to this Spanish horror film was the fact that it was directed by REC writer and director Paco Plaza. REC, on which the amazing found footage film Quarantine was based, is one of the best horror films out there because of its sheer rawness and attention to detail. Plaza did not disappoint with Veronica.
The film did the right thing and focused on establishing a central character. Audiences get to know Vero from the beginning and understand that she’s a responsible big sister who doesn’t do anything just for kicks. That is why when she is left alone to deal with such an insurmountable problem at the age of fifteen, abandoned by her best friend and the mother who is too indifferent to listen to her, viewers feel slighted and betrayed on her behalf.
When she alone tries to protect her siblings from the supernatural evil that haunts them, audiences root for her to succeed and for a film entitled Veronica, this is a huge success indeed. Its a relief though that despite the betrayals that she had to endure, her siblings have 100 percent faith in her. They listen to her absolutely and place their trust in her to save them from any horror that threatens them. It is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.
Shoutout to Sister Death, who at first, seemed like she was going to be the cause of the haunting but was actually instrumental in Vero finding a way to get rid of the spirits. Don’t judge a book by its cover is the lesson for the day.
The cinematography and the pacing for this movie was outstanding. While ouija-themed movies are fairly common, the film stands out because it was, after all based on an actual police report with the detective on duty acknowledging that he did witness a supernatural event when he responded to the emergency call. The film also managed to establish a shroud of evil that surrounds each frame, very subtle but very effective with the extended silences and the use of background music. Small details also added to the sense of danger and the panic that Veronica must have felt at the time.
And what a perfect actor to cast for the titular role. Sandra Escacena is a beautiful young woman who transforms herself into the most frightful creature once she starts being haunted by the spirits. She kind of reminds me of Jennifer Carpenter, my icon for possessed characters and this is a very big compliment from a horror fan.
All in all, Veronica is not a hard core horror film but it was well made and took its time to establish an affinity for a strong central character in the titular role. You can’t watch this film and not feel for her. And if this story happened in real life like in this movie, I hope that the mother and the best friend are haunted forever by the ghost of their indifference. The tragedy that happened on this night was most definitely theirs to own.