Foreign Film Friday: Is Spanish horror Verónica really the scariest movie of all time?
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The Spanish language horror film Verónica, released late last year, was hailed ‘the scariest movie of all time’ upon its release, horrifying audiences and critics alike. But is it really frightening enough to be awarded such a title? I’m sceptical. I do not doubt that Verónica is a stylish and thoroughly engaging horror film, but ‘the scariest movie of all time’ is somewhat of a stretch. The movie is set in 1991 and centres around the 15-year old Verónica living in Madrid with her struggling single mother and three younger siblings; twins Lucia and Irene, and brother Antonito. Her father has long since passed away and while her mother is working all hours to provide for the family; Verónica is left to care for her young siblings. During a solar eclipse at school, Verónica, in an attempt to contact her father, conducts a séance with an old Ouija board and two of her friends. The séance of course does not go to plan and Verónica is left haunted by an inescapable supernatural presence that slowly but surely torments her and her siblings throughout the rest of film. Paco Plaza (director of the critically acclaimed REC horror franchise) has turned out an effective and stylish horror in Verónica. The slow but careful pacing allows tension to be wrung out of almost every moment. Meanwhile the setting of an inner city residence block in the bustling city of Madrid is unconventional in the genre of horror, where films are too often set in remote, inaccessible locations like the typical ‘cabin in the woods’ or ‘old mansion on the outskirts of town’ that people can easily dismiss by saying ‘well I would never go there’. However, using such a familiar and unavoidable location is deeply unsettling and I guarantee will make you feel slightly uneasy.
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