Monday, November 13, 2017

VERONICA (2017) movie review - Cinepocalypse 2017

Veronica (2017) d. Plaza, Paco (Spain) (1st viewing)

Our titular teen protagonist (Sandra Escacena) does not have what many would consider an easy life. Her father recently died in a tragic accident, her mother works all hours to keep a roof above their heads, and she is tasked with caring for her three younger siblings, everything from breakfast to homework to bedtime baths. One day, knowing that the rest of the class will be outside observing a solar eclipse, she and two friends sneak downstairs to the school’s basement to try to contact her passed-on papa via a Ouija board; predictably, things do not go as planned and dark spirits begin to slip into every darkened corner of Veronica’s life, threatening her and everyone close to her.

If things sound a little clichéd in this tale of supernatural goings-on from the afterworld, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but that’s not necessarily a reason to dismiss this Spanish import out of hand. Plaza, co-director of the first two [Rec] movies (before going solo on the quite-fun third installment), delivers a solid ghost/possession flick with plenty of style and atmosphere and scares, but what really sets it apart is the fact that most of the performers are in their teens or younger. Escacena, front and center in nearly every single scene, is particularly excellent, anchoring the proceedings with a blend of naiveté and courage in the face of terror, courage earned through a life of hardship.

There are a fair number of frightening visuals and jump-scares, as well as a few narrative twists (that sharp viewers may or may not see coming) and the closing reel packs a genuine emotional punch. There’s no denying that Plaza and co-writer Fernando Navarro know their way around the genre, and deliver the goods even if they aren’t anything revolutionary. Worth a look.


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