Watch The Devil's Backbone Online

The Devil's Backbone

Where to Watch The Devil's Backbone


The Devil's Backbone, directed by the master of dark fantasy, Guillermo Del Toro, is a 2001 Spanish-Mexican gothic horror film that transcends the boundaries of the horror genre to tell a deeply affecting story set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War.

The story unfolds at an isolated orphanage run by an elderly couple, Carmen (Marisa Paredes) and Professor Casares (Federico Luppi). Carmen, with her wooden leg and stern disposition, maintains order, while Casares, a doctor of philosophy and metaphysics, educates the boys and secretly aids Republican loyalists. The orphanage is home to several war orphans, each bearing their unique scars of the brutal war.

The narrative takes a new turn with the arrival of a 12-year-old named Carlos (Fernando Tielve). Fatherless and caught in the throes of war, Carlos becomes the newest charge at the institution. The lingering war provides the raw, heightened tension in the film while the interpersonal dynamics amongst the children, especially with Carlos, draw interest throughout.

However, the orphanage harbors a dark secret, an unexploded bomb sits in the courtyard, a haunting reminder of the war creeping closer. But the bomb isn't the only relic of violence lurking on the premises. The orphanage is haunted by a ghost, a ghastly specter of a young boy named Santi, who died in mysterious circumstances. Hence, the nickname of the movie, "The Devil's Backbone".

Eduardo Noriega plays Jacinto, a young caretaker with a troubled past who grew up in the orphanage and now seeks a way out of the institution. His intentions are far from noble and add an additional layer of tension to the already fraught setting. His character arc intertwines dramatically with the other children's, making him a crucial part of the narrative.

Guillermo Del Toro deftly combines the supernatural with the cruelties of reality, drawing parallels between the spectral figure and the horrors of war that cast a long shadow over the orphanage. The film is teeming with symbolic elements, with the ghost and the unexploded bomb in the courtyard serving as poignant metaphors for the hidden horrors and unresolved tensions of war.

The visual aesthetic of the film blends supernatural elements rooted in the traditional ghost story with Del Toro's signature gothic sensibility. The use of saturated colors, long winding corridors, and creaky doors cultivates a surrealist tone that fits perfectly with the haunting and eerie atmosphere of the film. The special effects used to create the ghost add to the unsettling ambiance transforming it into a poetic figure that is both eerie and melancholic.

Furthermore, The Devil's Backbone perhaps contains one of the best ensemble casts in Del Toro's filmography. Marisa Paredes is compelling as Carmen, embodying both the harsh exterior necessary to run the orphanage and the tenderness for her children. Federico Luppi commands every scene he is in as Professor Casares, projecting an air of wisdom and melancholic bravery in the face of inevitable defeat.

Eduardo Noriega as Jacinto embodies the role of the reluctant villain convincingly, his internal rage simmering beneath a handsome facade. Fernando Tielve compellingly portrays Carlos, the new boy trying to make his place in this eerie orphanage while battling his fears of the spectral apparition.

The Devil's Backbone defies the traditional boundaries of the horror genre, creating a dense and atmospheric tale where the real world, marked by war and cruelty, reveals itself to be as chilling as the ghostly apparition that haunts the orphanage. It is not just a ghost story; it is a commentary on war, loss, fear, and the lengths people can go when driven by desperation. In merging elements of horror, drama, and historical commentary, the film demonstrates Guillermo Del Toro's unique ability to tell a complex, thought-provoking story while still terrifying his audience. The Devil's Backbone is a compelling combination of chilling horror and profound human drama, making it a stand-out in Del Toro's filmography.

The Devil's Backbone is a Fantasy, Drama, Horror, Thriller movie released in 2000. It has a runtime of 107 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.4. It also holds a MetaScore of 78.

How to Watch The Devil's Backbone

Where can I stream The Devil's Backbone movie online? The Devil's Backbone is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Devil's Backbone for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Guillermo del Toro
Fernando Tielve, Inigo Garces, Eduardo Noriega, Marisa Paredes, Federico Luppi
Also starring Marisa Paredes
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