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the-devils-backbone-movie-poster-1020210149The ghost in Mexican-director Guillermo del Toro’s beautiful new tale of the supernatural owes more to films like The Haunting than to the malicious spirits that inhabited Poltergeist. Santi, the sad ghost of The Devil’s Backbone needs to tell his story to the living so he can find peace and exact his revenge. Set during the Spanish Civil War the story is built around the curiosity of Carlos (Fernando Tielve), a twelve-year-old boy delivered to a remote orphanage after his communist father is killed. Once there he unravels the true story of “the one who sighs,” a ghost that haunts the basement. Guillermo takes his time with the story, letting the feeling of anxiety and dread build slowly, layering the atmosphere with thick slices of mystery and the supernatural. That coupled with one of the best realized screen ghosts of recent memory make this movie both unsettling and worthwhile.

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