WHAT GOES ON IN THAT PLACE IN THE DARK?
Movie Review – Veronica
Review by Ray Schillaci
The Movie Guys
It’s being said that viewers are having a hard time watching the Netflix feature Veronica all the way through. It’s been deemed too frightening for audiences. It does not help matters any that it is reportedly taken from a true story which can really unnerve some people (much like the original The Blair Witch Project, in which the filmmakers took full advantage of the gullibility of viewers). The big difference is writer/director Paco Plaza and his co-writer Fernando Navarro have locked on to the real thing, and as creepy as it is, the actual event is even worse.
Veronica is the name of the oldest of four kids. She’s a typical teen who likes to hang out with her friends, listen to music, and take on spooky things…like playing with a Ouija board during a solar eclipse. Probably not the smartest thing to toy with. She finds this out soon enough.
For those that remember another Ouija board tale, Mike Flanagan’s Ouija: Origin of Evil (a vast improvement on the original), don’t think you’re going to see the same old thing. Flanagan’s take was kind of a funhouse horror ride while Paco Plaza delivers the same dread he permeated the screen with in his first film back in 2007, Rec, which was later made into an American version, Quarantine. Over the years, sharing a number of credits including directing/writing/producing with Jaume Balagueró for the Rec series proved to be quite lucrative for both filmmakers. For seven lucky years these guys have been thrilling horror fans.
But, Plaza has sole ownership on directing duties on this new fright film, and he shows a far more subtle and eerie touch than his previous projects. This tale of a teenage “latchkey” girl practically raising her three siblings while mom is working a thankless diner job with far too many hours is relatable no matter where the setting is. Because of the normalcy this story is set in and the innocence of messing around with the board that Veronica’s girlfriends dare to do, both writers and director are able to catch us off guard and suck us into the world of the occult and supernatural/paranormal, much like The Exorcist did.
All Veronica wanted to do was talk to her recently dead father. The girl aches to talk to him just one more time. But, whatever she talks to, as was warned many a time, is not her dearly departed. Whatever it is, has stepped through and is now following her, and endangering her sisters and brother.
I don’t know if I’ve become immune to this kind of film, but in the end I realized I never found myself wanting to turn it off for the scare factor. I could understand how some people will be horribly affected. The situations that Plaza and his co-writer Navarro put Veronica through could easily unhinge those who normally do not regularly engage in the horror genre. Once again, Veronica’s story is very relatable, even though it’s a foreign film (set in Madrid, Spain). This is what accentuates the true horror of it all, and gives non-believers a reason to doubt their sensibilities. If you really want to get shook up, check out the true police report from Madrid. That will definitely give you second thoughts of ever bringing a Ouija board into your home even if it’s made by Hasbro!
Paco Plaza has a gifted visual sense that can take something we might have seen time and time again, and make it completely fresh: a crucifix and pictures falling to the floor, menacing shadows on the walls and shower curtains, doors creaking open. This film gives you chills like you’re seeing it for the first time. In no way shape or form does this film ever feel exploitive. Veronica is a true paranormal account that could give some people nightmares and others, well…we can only be thankful to Mr. Plaza and Mr. Navarro for elevating the genre we so desperately love.
Now appearing on Netflix – see it if you dare.
Directed by: Paco Plaza
Release Date: June, 2018
Run Time: 105 Minutes