The Devil's Backbone (El Espinazo del diablo) Reviews

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Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
Top Critic
October 14, 2014

Guillermo Del Toro's The Devil's Backbone is a really cool ghost story with an extraordinary human and political dimension.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Austin Trunick
Under the Radar
September 8, 2014

Although spooky, The Devil's Backbone becomes weighed down by perhaps one too many subplots.

Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
Serena Donadoni
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
October 7, 2013

What Del Toro provides with The Devil's Backbone is the recognition that evil exists within the most routine of circumstances. That knowledge is as old as humanity's belief in the fantastic, and just as powerful.

Michael Sragow
Baltimore Sun
October 7, 2013

You may find that images from this movie clamber back into your memory weeks after you see it, and give your spine a chill.

Bruce Diones
New Yorker
Top Critic
October 7, 2013

Del Toro's elegant pacing and gothic touches imbue the proceedings with a cool mystery.

Andrew Collins
Radio Times
October 7, 2013

Though the whodunnit takes a fairly predictable course, the Spanish Civil War background adds powerful narrative and symbolic weight, while the striking imagery is simply poetic.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic
October 7, 2013

It's a horror flick, and a creepily good one, that also functions as an allegory of the war that still haunts Spain seven decades later.

David Sterritt
Christian Science Monitor
October 7, 2013

This moody ghost story follows generally familiar lines despite its unusual historical setting, but it's imaginatively filmed and builds a sense of brooding emotional power.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
Top Critic
October 7, 2013

The Devil's Backbone augments its abundant creepiness with an equally powerful poignancy.

James Kendrick
Q Network Film Desk
August 21, 2013

an elegant, emotionally fraught ghost story

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Peter Canavese
Groucho Reviews
August 12, 2013

Pure, uncut del Toro. The filmmaker accomplishes riveting scenes of suspense and scares he honestly come by, sticking the landing of every effect he attempts. [Blu-ray]

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
David Nusair
Reel Film Reviews
January 15, 2013

...a hopelessly erratic piece of work.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4

Total Film
October 8, 2012

Blending terror with tenderness, Guillermo Del Toro has crafted something both traditional and original: a sun-kissed gothic horror.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Kelly Vance
East Bay Express
May 4, 2010

It's a schoolboy ghost story, the kind best told after lights-out.

Jonathan Holland
Variety
Top Critic
October 18, 2008

Though it fails in its final reels to capitalize on its early promise, pic is still stylish, accomplished and tremendously enjoyable fare.

Steve Biodrowski
Cinefantastique
July 14, 2008

Besides being genuinely creepy, it is also surprisingly moving. It is, quite probably ... the saddest horror movie ever made.

Beth Accomando
KPBS.org
July 10, 2008

Calling The Devil's Backbone a ghost story is an unfair simplification of an exquisitely crafted film... If you must label this film as horror, then it's a horror film with a soul.

Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
April 2, 2008

A weirdly poetic film.

Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Joe Lozito
Big Picture Big Sound
December 27, 2007

Beautifully filmed, written and acted.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Philip French
Observer [UK]
September 24, 2007

It's a striking film and further good news for the Spanish cinema, too few of whose films open here.

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