Verónica (2017)

Director: Paco Plaza
Writer: Fernando Navarro, Paco Plaza
Cast: Sandra EscacenaBruna GonzálezClaudia PlacerIván ChaveroAna TorrentConsuelo TrujilloÁngela FabiánCarla CampraChema Adeva
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 23.9.2017

Verónica (Sandra Escacena) lives with her mother and her three little siblings. Her father has recently passed, leaving it up to her mother to earn the family’s living on her own which in turn means that Verónica has to take care of the younger kids a lot. Because she misses her father, she plays Ouija with two friends at school. But after that game, things turn strange and Verónica has to face a dark force that follows her home.

Verónica achieves something pretty diffult: the film works both as a terrifying supernatural horror film and as a psychological study of a young woman whose psychotic symptoms are misinterpreted as a supernatural phenomenon (a rather scary film in itself), which I thought particularly important since it’s (loosely) based on a true story. I was very impressed by it.

It’s not an easy thing to do to make two movies in one, but for me, both readings of the story work equally well and it will depend on your worldview which one you’ll prefer. For me, it is a clear indication of how quickly mental illness can be misread in a way that you actually believe something more than that is going on. It’s a sign of how convincing people can be who are absolutely sure of something. (My armchair diagnosis would be that this is the outbreak of paranoid schizophrenia in Verónica, but I know only a bit of what I’m talking about here.)

But if you’re more spiritually/supernaturally inclined (with regards to films or in general), Verónica is a perfect possession film (albeit not bringing anything particularly new to the table), tailor-made to give you all of the creeps. I found myself honestly scared, drawn into the film and its atmosphere.

The film features an excellent cast, particularly main actor Sandra Escacena was really fantastic. The cinematography was also great, especially in combination with the lighting. And the music was very nice.

Together this makes for a tense, exciting package of a film that I found extraordinarily gripping to watch – and get scared by. Since Paco Plaza’s [Rec] didn’t work for me, here’s to hoping that he sticks to making more films like Verónica.

Summarizing: Scary as fuck.

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