¿Que tal, amigos de España? ¡Vosotros tiene un muy bueno cinema de horror y Verónica es otro grande ejemplo!
Don’t worry, that was just me trying to practise my Spanish while introducing the Spanish horror movie Veronica, a possession flick set in Madrid in 1991 and directed by the same guy who brought us the fantastic [Rec] (2007) and [Rec] 2 (2009), Paco Plaza.
The movie revolves around the titular Veronica, a 15-year-old girl who, after the loss of her dad, lives with her three younger siblings and with her widow mother. Veronica’s mom, however, is never at home, since she overworks herself as a waitress to make enough money to sustain the family.
Thus, Veronica feels extremely lonely and decides to play a board game with her two besties in order to talk to her father again, with the board being a goddamned Ouija! As one might expect, things go downhill quickly and Veronica (Sandra Escacena) finds herself in deep trouble.
As generic as this premise might sound, Veronica is actually a 105-minute-long film that, while heavily relying on traditional possession flicks features, feels fresh and genuine beyond every expectation.
The atmosphere created by Paco Plaza’s fantastic direction is genuinely unsettling and builds up many scenes of actual tension and uneasiness. As I always say, fear is a very subjective emotion, thus what one finds scary might be utterly unscary for another: personally, I found Veronica to be mostly scary and intense, which are characteristics really hard to come across to when you watch more than 100 horror flicks per year! There’s this one scene where Veronica is sleeping, she gets woken up by her sisters and, all of the sudden, the tone switches from cute and nice to terrifying and disturbing. Great stuff!
The whole look and feel is, in fact, anxiety-inducing material. Although I’m generally not too fond of possession movies because of the tons of crappy ones production companies have thrown at us in the last 15/20 years, Veronica did truly manage to create a threatening atmosphere. That’s due to the location – the movies is mostly set into an apartment that looks like a maze – the fabulous camera-work, very inventive and creative, and the way certain things are there without being seen… if that makes sense.
Plaza makes great use of the good old ‘the less you see, the better’, with some shot compositions that build tension without relying on loud music and cheap tropes. Besides, the lighting in Veronica feels really natural and gives the movie a grainy look that helps the viewer getting sucked into the story.
Yet, the acting isn’t great but it’s good enough, especially because the main characters are very relatable thanks to the film’s attempt to give them depth and motivation.
Furthermore, the movie features a big twist towards the end: I must say I saw it coming from miles away, which I don’t know if depended on me being used to overanalyse films or on the fact that it simply wasn’t clever enough. I can’t spoil it, obviously, but let’s just say the twist gives the viewer an original point of view on the stages of possession…
To sum it up, Veronica is pretty much just another supernatural horror flick, but it’s also a very well made one that features a few original inserts and some very cool scene. Besides, Veronica feels really depressing throughout and, in my opinion, that fits perfectly the story it’s trying to tell.
Also, I found two little references to It Follows (2014). Firstly, the music, which resembles a lot the tone of the score in It Follows; secondly, if you pay attention, there’s one sequence where Veronica walks through the streets of Madrid and there’s a fat dude wearing a striped jersey who follows her for no reason wherever she goes… he’s got nothing to do with the movie, it’s just Plaza’s homage to a film he loves.
As per flaws, the first thirty minutes of Veronica are quite formulaic, featuring a couple of fake jump-scares – which I hate – and the premise of the girls using the Ouija board is just a bit hard to believe in. Yet, the CGI utilised in one or two scenes looks a bit fake. Finally, there’s one character – a blind nun – whose sole purpose in the movie is to tell Veronica (and, by doing so, the audience) what to do in certain situations.
Besides these minor complaints, Veronica is a great horror movie about possession, one that can be enjoyed by both fans of the subgenre and those horror loves who don’t really care for it.
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My review is also available on IMDb – Veronica