Veronica (Verónica) (2017)
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Critic Reviews for Veronica (Verónica)
Its ideas aren't ultimately original enough or its scares potent enough to suggest Plaza wouldn't benefit from trying his directorial hand at someone else's screenplay.
Aided by some great child performances, plenty of stylistic chutzpah and a strong sense of place, [Plaza] makes it work, despite the project's overall lack of finesse.
Despite a tendency to overdue it when it comes to the scares themselves, Paco Plaza's Veronica contains enough focus on character and symbolism to be an effective possession horror.
It's not a masterpiece.... but it is entertaining... [Full review in Spanish]
A considerable buzz online suggested that this Spanish horror might arrest the recent run of iffy Netflix movies. Sadly, it doesn't.
Audience Reviews for Veronica (Verónica)
Before we get started with this review, it should be noted that Paco Plaza, director of this movie, also directed one of my favorite horror movies of all time (easily in my Top 3) and that movie is Rec. It's also the best found footage horror movie I have ever seen. It's just a high-quality movie all around. The style is used perfectly, the movie is tense, its jump scares are actually legitimately very well-done. It's just a fantastic movie all-around. The sequels, eh, those are another story entirely. The first sequel was very good. The other two were fine. I know how some people feel about found footage movies, but you're doing yourself a disservice if you haven't seen the original Rec. Regardless, the Rec franchise is not what brings us together today, tonight, whatever fucking time it is wherever you are. What brings us together is this little haunted house/demonic possession movie. Apparently, this is inspired by real events of a girl who started acting strangely after playing a game of Ouija with a group of friends. I don't believe in that for I am not a superstitious man. That's neither here nor there. Let's move on, shall we? I Googled this movie yesterday and an article from NME.com came up titled 'Is Veronica the scariest movie ever?' or something close to that. I'm here to put to that to rest and say that, unequivocally, this is not the scariest movie ever made. Hell, it's not the scariest movie of the decade, much less ever made. My manliness simply prohibits me from being scared by a horror movie. Seriously though, I've seen so many horror movies and I've grown to expect absolutely anything from them, in terms of attempting to scare you, that I find that it absolutely doesn't affect me. I watch horror movies because I like them, not because I go in wanting to be scared. If the latter was my reasoning for watching them, then I've got to say that I failed miserably. But, yes, this isn't the scariest movie ever made. That's not to say it doesn't have its moments though. In my opinion, the film is more tragic than it is scary. Veronica is a teen girl whose life is literally unraveling before her very eyes as she is haunted by some sort of spirit after, as I already mentioned, a particularly stressful game of Ouija where she blacks out before waking up at the hospital. The reason why I say that it's more tragic than sad is the fact that Veronica, simply, does not have anybody. The friends she played Ouija with have ditched her and left her alone. Her mother works all the time, is never at home and leaves Veronica to take care of her three young siblings by herself. Oh and Vero's father also passed away, he was the person Vero was trying to contact. So, in all reality, Vero has absolutely nobody to depend on in this world. Her entire support system has been eroded and she had no one to really go to as her mind kept slowly unraveling as the haunting became more and more severe. On top of everything else, Vero, 15 years old, has not had her first period yet. So the movie, in some particularly interesting scenes, could be scene as a metaphor for Vero's sexual issues and her inability to deal with them as a result of what's happening to her with the haunting. The movie definitely starts out very promisingly. The entire scene with the Ouija board in the basement of the school is a highlight and there's one great jump scare here. I don't wanna say that the movie sort of lets up after this, because it doesn't, but it doesn't fulfill its promise as well as you'd probably hope. There's the scene with the demon in the hallway that I thought was very well-executed in that they didn't actually use any cues to tip you off that something was there. No music cues, no sounds, nothing. If you didn't see the demon in the hallway, that's on you. But, in a way, that sort of horror works best in that you don't know that it's there. And if you DO go back to watch and find out that something, in fact, was there, I think that adds a lot more heft to it. I don't know, maybe that's just me. Another thing that I liked about the movie was how it was passed and put together. It felt like an old-school haunted house film. From the synth score (which is more 80s inspired admittedly), to the framing of some of the shots, this feels like a movie released in the late 70s-early 80s. It's not a film caked in nostalgia, it's just that it's put together like it was released in that era. In all honesty, while the haunting/possession itself is the driving force of the film, obviously, I found everything around Veronica and her siblings to be just as interesting, if not even more so. Again, just exploring the stress that Vero is undoubtedly going through as she's forced to, unfairly, raise her siblings on her own. Vero is a loving and caring sister, but she does not have a life of her own as a result. She's understandably bitter at her mother, who comes across as insanely unlikable given the fact that she is never there for any of her children. Whether it be to take care of younger siblings or to notice the fact that something, clearly, is bothering her oldest daughter. I understand that she's busy with work, but she never really put forth the effort to legitimately find out what was happening to Vero that was causing her to act against type. In many ways, that negligence might have played a huge part for why things escalated so quickly for Vero as they did. She was willfully negligent. The acting is really damn good. Sandra Escacena, who plays Veronica, does a great job at portraying her mental deterioration as everyone around her disappears. Her young siblings, or the actors who play her siblings, are also all very good. But it's obvious that Sandra carries most of the weight here and she's more than up to the task. There's some rough scenes, but those are few and far in between. Some of the editing is also a bit choppy, particularly during the climactic act. The movie does a good job in keeping its ending open-ended. I mean, to me, it's obvious that none of the things that the film portrays happened and it was all Vero's mental state of mind. The Ouija board was the catalyst for Vero's mental decay. It was probably gonna go there eventually, but the superstition surrounding this board took over Vero and her life, sadly. But, if you want to interpret it is a 'legitimate' haunting, at least in the film's context, then you can. The movie's not gonna mock you for it. So, yea, I definitely liked this movie. Wouldn't say it's super scary or the best of either the haunted house or demonic possession subgenre, but it is a good, and ultimately tragic, view at the life of a teen girl who couldn't get the help, or support, that she desperately needed after a traumatic event. Good horror movie and I'd definitely recommend it if you have Netflix. It's definitely worth a shot.
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