Original Title: Verónica
Director: Paco Plaza
05.12.2019: This review was first published in 31.03.2018 is being updated for a more complete review, together with the publishing of the YouTube Version.
Veronica is a Spanish movie released in 2017, it’s based on the real story of Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro and her family and directed by Paco Plaza, famous for the REC franchise.
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 father, and after that, everything changes for worse.
The year is 1991, Verónica is 15 and is the older of four children. Their father died quite recently and her mother has to work a lot so she can provide to her family, leaving the young Verónica responsible for her three siblings.
On the day of a solar eclipse, while the whole school is gathered to watch the eclipse, Verónica and two friends are hiding in the basement summoning spirits with an Ouija Board.
While Verónica wants to get in contact with her father, one of the other girls want to contact a boyfriend who recently died in a motorcycle accident. The girls are somewhat successful in her efforts of contacting spirits, but it seems they contacted the wrong ones.
From that moment on, these evil spirits began the harassment of Verónica and her family.
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 has a different style from what we are used to in the Hollywoodian horror films.
It was a thought-provoking movie, but I’m still not satisfied with my interpretations. I see hints about Verónica’s psychosexual development and her responsibilities taking care of her siblings, but things like the solar eclipse, I’m not sure.
Two positive points were the score and the cinematography. Both create the perfect atmosphere for the movie, and even though the cinematography is not fancy, it’s no the type that leaves you in complete darkness.
The acting is amazing, with a very young and very good main cast that gives us the impression of a real family. Sandra Escacena, who plays Verónica is really great throughout the whole movie, displaying very believable emotions.
After the conclusion of the story, we see some photos that seem 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.
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.
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 and even uttering insults.
In August 1991, her family took the girl to the hospital where she eventually died of an 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.
One day the mother found a portrait of the girl burned, but the frame and glass in which the photo was in were not damaged. That event was shown a little differently in the final scenes of the movie.
The family called the police that witnessed slamming doors and other events of what became the only case with a report describing a paranormal activity, I guess from all Spain.
This type of activity continued to happen until the family moved from the house and found peace. The people who lived in the house after Estefanía’s family told reporters that they never witnessed anything supernatural there.
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 gives some guttural screams while setting up a sequel/prequel. Without all this, Veronica becomes a more grounded movie, with proximity to the viewers.
I know the movie will not please everyone, but to me, it was a good experience, even knowing it’s not a perfect movie and because of that, I will give a rating of 8 Moons.