VERONICA on Netflix is a Spanish horror drama offering a brutal experience. In the really good horror movie sense, of course. This movie is a perfect example of how amazing children – and child actors – can be as characters in the horror genre. Read our full Verónica movie review here!
VERÓNICA is a new Netflix horror movie directed by Paco Plaza. Yep, the very same director who brought us the [REC] horror movie franchise. This information alone should be more than enough reason to make any horror fan want to watch the movie. However, it can also result in expectations that can be hard to meet. Fortunately, this is a director who knows how to create horror.
For this horror movie, we’re not dealing with zombies or any other kind of virus. Instead, Verónica is a good old-fashioned horror movie featuring evil spirits (or demons, if you will). And this evil finds its way to the title character, Verónica. The gate to the darkness is opened after an Ouija board seance attempting to contact the spirit. During a solar eclipse to boot, which is just asking for trouble.
Continue reading our Verónica movie review below. Find it on Netflix now!
From bad to worse
The use of the Ouija board even has a good reason this time around. For once, the Ouija board isn’t just a fun idea by bored teenagers. Verónica is alone with her mother and three younger siblings after her father’s death. It should come as no surprise, that her dearly departed father is precisely who she hopes to get in touch with.
And there is some kind of contact, but it doesn’t seem like it’s the old man saying hello. From this point, it goes from bad to worse.
The story in Verónica takes place in 1991 and is based on a true story. There is an actual police report that mentions this very incident. At the end of the film, we also get a lot of details about the original story. There was even a solar eclipse in 1991, although that is probably not part of the original story.
A fantastic debut by Sandra Escacena
The film is called Verónica after the main character. Naturally, this means the actor playing the title role has to deliver a brilliant performance. In the case of this movie, the character is very young, so we’re getting a very young actor in the role. Fortunately, Sandra Escacena delivers a magnificent performance as Verónica.
Also, we see Ana Torrent in a smaller supporting role as her mother. She starred in 1996’s Snuff, directed by Alejandro Amenábar, who subsequently went on to write and direct The Others (2001).
Sandra Escacena is making a fantastic debut in this all-important title role. She hadn’t even made a short film before starring in this feature film. It’s an extremely memorable debut, and the movie even opens with “Introducing Sandra Escacena” (though in Spanish). What an introduction of a new talent. She is – very fittingly – uncannily good.
My mind immediately went to The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which has Jennifer Carpenter in her starring role debut. Jennifer Carpenter was quite a bit older than Sandra Escacena is in this, though. Also, she had previously had supporting roles – mainly in comedies. Still, the two performances are at similar levels for me.
The films themselves are not comparable, in terms of style or story. They do, however, have something in common as they’re both described as horror-drama. A genre-hybrid that makes these movies sound much less scary than they actually are. Well, to me, anyway.
After Verónica, Paco Plaza has made a short film in which Sandra Escacena also plays one of the main roles. Not bad starting your acting resume on IMDb with two projects directed by Paco Plaza.
Paco Plaza is a master of horror
Funnily enough, it was also Jennifer Carpenter who played the main role in the American remake of Paco Plaza’s super hit [Rec]. It was called Quarantine and was almost a scene-for-scene remake that was absolutely no better than the original. On the contrary.
However, Paco Plaza was not alone in creating the Spanish zombie franchise [Rec]. The direction of the first two films was thus in collaboration with Jaume Balagueró. They were also behind the script for the first film in collaboration with Luiso Berdejo, who later helped write the fantastic Painless. Both before and after [Rec], Jaume Balagueró has also created several fantastic horror films such as The Nameless and Sleep Tight.
However, neither of the other two [Rec] guys have been in on Verónica. Although Paco Plaza has helped write the screenplay, it was written in collaboration with Fernando Navarro.
In turn, he has also written the script for another Spanish horror film entitled Muse. The script for Muse was written in collaboration with the film’s director, who is Jaume Balagueró, so there is yet another connection to the Spanish horror franchise.
Watch Veronica (2017) on Netflix!
As mentioned earlier, Verónica has no zombies, but other than that, it has the same intensity we know (and love) from Paco Plaza’s previous films. Also, since the main character is a Catholic schoolgirl, there are also quite a few nuns. Nuns have always been used in horror movies, and more recently it’s escalated thanks to James Wan’s The Nun.
However, there is still a lot of creepiness associated with one of them in particular in Verónica. She is even known as Sister Death (Hermana Muerte), but she does try to help poor Verónica.
It’s no secret that we do love Spanish horror here at Heaven of Horror. Do keep in mind though that this also means we see a lot of Spanish horror movies, so we do come across those who are less than brilliant. Much less! Fortunately, this is not one of them as it’s a brutal and intense experience that stays with you. In good ways, because it gets its hooks in your horror-loving heart.
While it’s certainly more of a horror drama than a wild zombie action movie – which the director is of course known for – it’s not a relaxing viewing experience. There’s still a focus on great characters, fantastic performances (also from the smaller children who play Verónica’s younger siblings), and a creepiness that attacks you at full force.
So make sure you watch it on Netflix now! And get ready for the sequel Sister Death in 2023!
Verónica is out on Netflix in the US from February 25, 2018.
Director: Paco Plaza
Writers: Fernando Navarro, Paco Plaza
Cast: Sandra Escacena, Bruna González, Claudia Placer, Ana Torrent
In 1991 Madrid, after holding a séance at school, a teen girl minding her younger siblings at home suspects an evil force has entered their apartment.