Veronica – Movie Review and the true story of Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro

veronica 01

Info

Original Title: Verónica
Director: Paco Plaza
Release Date: 2017

The Movie

Veronica is a Spanish movie based on the real story of Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro and her family, it was directed by Paco Plaza, famous for the REC franchise.


Verónica [Blu-ray]

Instead of an 18-year-old Estefánia, we have the 15-year-old Verónica, who decided to use an Ouija Board to try contact with her dead (obviously) father then everything goes to shit.

The story is not the most original, but I don’t think that’s important in this particular case. The movie is very well crafted, competently made and have a style quite different from what we are accustomed to the Hollywoodian horror movie.

veronica 03

It was an intriguing experience and, for now, I’m not fully satisfied with my interpretation. There are some clear hints to some symbology regarding her psychosexual development (not Freudian) and the responsibilities as a caretaker of her siblings and their house. However, other symbolism, like the solar eclipse still a mystery to me.

Two major positive points to me were the score and the cinematography. Both create the perfect atmosphere for the movie, and even though the cinematography is not fancy and Oscar-worthy, it does not let you in complete darkness like lots of movies do and get me on my nerves.

veronica 02

The acting is something that I have to mention. We have a very young and very good main cast and it really gives us the impression of a real family. Sandra Escacena, who plays Verónica is really great through the whole movie, displaying very believable emotions.

After the conclusion of the story, we see some photos who seems to be real police photos of what took place, giving a feeling of unease, something like this real crime documentaries. It’s not real, it’s photos from the movie itself, but anyway, it contributes to this horror atmosphere.

True Story

When comparing the two stories it may contain some spoilers. You have been warned.

It all started in March 1990 when the 18-year-old high school student Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro and two friends made use of an Ouija Board to try contact with a boy who died in a motorcycle accident. Like in the movie, this boy was the boyfriend of one of the girls involved.

estefania real movie veronica
Estefanía

In the middle of the session, a teacher caught and reprehended the girls, breaking the glass they were using. After the incident, Estefanía started to have seizures and altered states that made her see a group of tall, skinny humanoid beings calling for her to join them.

As for other “symptoms”, she started to feel like forces were controlling her and making her act violently towards her siblings. Other times she was talking with a coarse masculine voice, even utter insults.

shrine estefania gutierrez lazaro madrid
Shrine made by Estefanía’s mother

August 1991, her family took the girl to the hospital where she eventually died of some unknown cause.

After her death, the family describes a rise in “paranormal activity”. With doors constantly slamming, strange noises, movement alarms sounding where there seems to be no movement, shadowy figures lurking around, you get the idea.

A portrait of the girl burning without damaging the frame or the glass in which the photo was in, really happened much like it was in the final scenes of the movie.

estefania's burnt photo
Real burnt Photo

The family really called the police, that witnessed slamming doors and others events of what became the only case with a report describing the paranormal activity, I guess from all Spain.

This type of activity continued to happen until the family moved from the house and found a truce. The posterior residents of the house told some interviewer that they never witnessed anything supernatural there.

Conclusion

It is an unnerving story, especially after knowing the real story behind the film.

Most Hollywood movies have an over the top ending where Satan makes everything flies and give some guttural screams while setting up a sequel/prequel. Without all this, Veronica becomes a more humane movie, it has a greater proximity to the viewers.

I know the movie will not please everyone, but to me, it was a good experience, even knowing is not a perfect movie and because of that, I will give a rating of 8.

Links

Sources of images and info: La Bitácora del Miedo & Mundo misterio y más
IMDb & Rotten Tomatoes

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