By Emily Norman, Staff Writer
One of the most popular movies in the horror genre on Netflix right now is Verónica, a Spanish film from director Paco Plaza. It’s easy to see why, as horror films featuring the supernatural and demonic are still incredibly popular with movie viewers today.
Verónica, however, delivers us something a little different – the titular character Verónica, or “Vero” (Sandra Escacena), has a family that is nowhere near the nuclear family unit we’re used to seeing afflicted by the supernatural in movies. Instead, Vero’s family is clearly left disturbed in the wake of the passing of her father. Her mother, a barmaid, leaves Vero to care for her three younger siblings, seemingly unable to do it herself. This is an obvious burden on Vero, but she takes it in stride, making it clear to the viewer that she truly loves her siblings (Bruna González, Claudia Placer and Iván Chavero).
The true trouble for Vero starts one day after school when she and her friends Rosa (Angela Fabian) and Diana (Carla Camera) sneak down to the school’s basement to use a Ouija board. They do so while the rest of the school is busy watching a solar eclipse so that they can have some privacy while attempting to contact the spirit of Vero’s father. However, something goes terribly wrong and after a series of strange events triggered by the Ouija board, Vero wakes up in the school doctor’s office unable to recall what has happened to her. She and her little sisters are sent home in the hopes that a bit of rest will do her well.
Of course, things don’t get better – they get worse. The family’s small apartment soon becomes a hotbed of apparently paranormal happenings that only escalate despite Vero’s best attempts to ignore or stop them. She enlists Diana and Rosa to go through another session with the board to try and stop the haunting, and then desperately turns to her little siblings for help, which turns out to go horribly wrong.
Though the film is sure to excite fans of other supernatural horror flicks such as Ouija or The Conjuring, it does suffer a bit from its plot. How many Ouija-induced demon films can come out before they all start to feel exactly the same? In this sense, bits of the plot feel dry and predictable at times, though the setting in Spain and the lack of much adult supervision shake things up a bit.
The performances from the young actors are strong enough to keep viewers engaged. Escacena, González, Placer and Chavero are clearly very talented young actors who give extremely convincing performances, especially considering the young ages of the latter three. Consuelo Trujillo, who plays a nun at the children’s school nicknamed “Hermana Muerte” or “Sister Death” gives an outstandingly creepy performance from the first moment she’s seen on screen. Her character is almost sure to leave an impact on the viewer, even though it feels like she’s needlessly interjected into some scenes purely to add that extra creep factor.
Overall, Verónica does suffer from a few issues. The plot is pretty predictable, the run time could’ve easily been cut down, and the scenes featuring Hermana Muerta seem a bit forced despite how truly eerie she is. But, the film is still fun for fans of paranormal horrors. We get classically creepy imagery and characters, as well as a few good jump scares, not to mention some incredibly talented young actors to keep viewers hooked.
If you’re looking to get some intense spooks or a brand new kind of horror that will leave you shocked and totally horrified, you’re not going to get them from this film. But, if you’re looking for a solid new horror flick to add to your weekend Netflix queue or simply seeking to improve your Spanish listening skills, go ahead and put this one on your list.