Veronica (2017) | Film Review | Discussion & Spoilers
Veronica is a Spanish supernatural horror film directed by Paco Plaza and stars Sandra Escacena. The film was released on 25 August 2017 in Spain and recently released on Netflix Instant. Paco Plaza also directed the Spanish films [REC] (2007) and [REC] 2 (2009), so if you like his other films, you might like this one as well. The movie is in Spanish with English subtitles.
This film is based on a true story. The real case follows a girl named Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro who died in Vallecas, Madrid in the 1980's. Her parents experienced a large number of paranormal experiences after her death, and the movie follows Estefania's story.
Here is a link to the real story if you are interested:
In the beginning of the film, we see Veronica getting her siblings ready for school. She does her best to get her siblings ready for school, all while trying not to wake her mother, who worked late the night before. As the children get ready for school, they talk about an upcoming eclipse later in the day. Veronica goes into her mother's room quietly in order to retrieve some photo negatives that the children can use to view the eclipse while at school, and she takes out a photograph of a person holding a pan full of paella. As Veronica stares at the photo, her mother wakes up and asks her what she is doing. Veronica tells her mother she is getting a photo for a school project, and takes the photo and the negatives with her as she leaves for school.
Veronica and her siblings walk to school and begin their school day. In class, Veronica's teacher talks about how an eclipse occurs, and how ancient cultures viewed the significance of an eclipse. The teacher states that some cultures would sacrifice people during an eclipse, and others thought that during an eclipse darkness became more powerful. During the lesson, Veronica's friend Rosa passes her a note that asks her, "Did you bring it?", to which Veronica nods her head.
Towards the end of the lesson, the teacher tells the students to meet her outside on the roof in order to see the eclipse. Veronica and her friend Rosa do not go out onto the roof, and instead meet in a hallway and begin to talk about something Veronica has brought to school for her and Rosa to use. Rosa tells Veronica that she invited a friend named Diana to their event, and Veronica tells Rosa that she doesn't know Diana, and doesn't think it's a good idea for her to come along. Rosa doesn't convince Veronica, but Diana shows up and Veronica relents in order to avoid an awkward confrontation. In the basement of the school, we see Veronica, Rosa, and Diana set up a Ouija board, a small glass, and candles. None of the girls read the directions for the Ouija board thoroughly, thus setting up the movie for what follows.
The board directions state that in order to contact someone, they need to provide a personal item. As Veronica pulls out the photograph she took from her mother's room earlier, we learn the reason she took it; she wants to contact her deceased father, and the only personal item she had of him was the photograph she took from her mother's room.
The girls begin the seance, asking if anyone is in the room with them, and something contacts them through the Ouija board. The girls become frightened as the glass they are using to read the letters on the board begins moving around. Although at first Veronica is hopeful that her father is the one contacting her, she soon realizes that there is something malevolent in the room.
The glass the girls were using all of the sudden froze on a picture of the sun on the board, and burned Rosa and Diana's fingers, causing them to pull their fingers back in pain. Veronica's eyes remained closed and her finger stayed on the glass, alarming Rosa and Diana, The glass broke, and Veronica's finger was cut. Large droplets of blood dropped from Veronica's finger onto the picture of the sun, obliterating the image (forming an eclipse of sorts).
Rosa and Diana became further frightened when Veronica began to scream in an inhuman voice and seemingly had a seizure. Diana ran to get help, and Rosa sees that Veronica is speaking very fast while laying on the ground. Rosa leans in to hear what Veronica is saying, then leans back in horror once she understands what Veronica has said.
In the next scene, we see Veronica in the nurse's office, answering questions about her general health. After answering the nurse's questions, the nurse chalks her experience up to fainting due to low iron levels (anemia). We also discover that Veronica is 15 years old and has never had her period.
The rest of the film follows Veronica as she tries to figure out what happened to her and who or what she has contacted through the Ouija board.
If you love this movie, you might also love:
Atrocious (2010) - (Spanish with English subtitles)
Fragile (Fragiles) (2005)
The Conjuring (2013)
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
Paranormal Activity (2007)
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)
Below, I've included information about film content (disturbing scenes, violence) and spoilers (spoilers are located at the very end).
Any disturbing scenes?
Yes. A teenage girl cuts her finger and bleeds liberally onto a Ouija board. A teenage girl has what looks like a seizure and screams in an inhuman voice. A naked man walks towards a teenage girl while she is lying in her bed, pinned down by clawed hands. A small boy is severely scalded by bathwater. A teenage girl gets bitten by children in her hands and leg; blood is shown and pieces of her are bitten out. A teenage girl gets her period; blood is shown near her groin area. A teenage girl grabs a piece of broken mirror and grips it tightly; drops of blood are shown dripping onto the floor from her hand. A teenage girl cuts her own throat; the scene is not graphic. A teenage girl is shown bent backwards, screaming in an inhuman voice.
Yes. A teenage girl is pinned down by clawed hands in her bed. A teenage girl is bitten violently in her hands and legs. A teenage girl is shown falling from an interior window, and is knocked unconscious temporarily; she is shown with a bloody lip. A teenage girl is thrown into a bathroom mirror; her forehead is cut and she is shown with blood running down her forehead. A teenage girl slaps a younger girl in the face.
After the scene in the nurse's office, Veronica begins to have visions of an inhuman spirit both in her dreams and in her apartment. She realizes the inhuman spirit was contacted through the seance, and tries to find more information in the small booklets that came with the Ouija board. She tries to protect her siblings by putting up Viking signs of protection, but the inhuman spirit burns the papers with the signs of protection on them.
Veronica is attacked nightly through her dreams and while awake. The inhuman spirit appears at first in the form of her dead father, which disturbs Veronica greatly, and later appears as itself, a faceless, black, burned demon with claws. It leaves stains wherever it goes, and Veronica discovers it leaves a black, rotten imprint of itself underneath all of the mattresses in the house.
Veronica talks with a blind nun who works at the school and discovers that the nun can sense spirits, even though she is blind. The nun tells Veronica that she must right what she did wrong, and Veronica realizes she must recreate the seance and tell the spirit goodbye. She seeks out Rosa for her help, only to discover that Rosa is having a party with her new best friend, Diana.
Veronica desperately tries to tell Rosa and Diana that they must recreate the seance or something terrible will happen, but Diana does not listen, and gets her friends to kick Veronica out of the party. Rosa takes Veronica aside and tells her that when she leaned in during the original seance to hear what Veronica was whispering, she heard Veronica say that she (Veronica) was going to die on that very day (the day of the party).
Rosa walks away, and Veronica screams for her to come back and help her, but Rosa doesn't listen. It seems that Rosa was so disturbed by what happened during the original seance, she distanced herself from Veronica, so Veronica was left friendless and stalked by an inhuman spirit. Veronica then decides to try to get her mother to get away from the apartment and stay with her. She tells her mother that the spirit doesn't stalk her when her mother is home, but her mother doesn't believe her.
Veronica then enlists the help of her two sisters to be stand-ins for Rosa and Diana and create another seance. She asks her younger brother to draw Viking symbols of protection on the walls in the hallway, then begins another seance. She tries to tell the spirit goodbye and to leave their house, but it tells her it will not leave. Pictures begin to shake and fall off the wall, and Veronica sees the figure moving through the house. At one point, Veronica's younger brother, Antonito, goes missing and Veronica sees him being carried into the bathroom by the spirit. She gets into the bathroom and gets him, grabs her two sisters, and runs outside. As she gets to the front door of the apartment building, her sisters ask her where Antonito is. Veronica realizes he is still in the apartment, and goes back to get him. The sisters, trapped outside of the security door, stay outside and cry for Veronica to come back.
Veronica goes into the apartment and searches for Antonito. She goes into the bathroom and is attacked by the spirit, and after being thrown into a bathroom mirror, becomes possessed by the spirit. She grabs a piece of the broken mirror and calls out for Antonito. When she finds Antonito in her bedroom wardrobe, she realizes that she is possessed, and, wanting to protect her siblings, cuts her throat in an attempt to get the spirit to leave.
The police show up and find Veronica bent over backwards, screaming. She falls to the ground, and the police call for an ambulance. The police take Antonito to his mother, but later learn that Veronica died at the hospital.
The film ends with text saying that the movie is based on a true story and show photos of the supposed real crime scene.
So what did I think about this movie? Discussion time:
I thought this movie was well-done. It's especially creepy to me after reading what happened to the Gutierrez family, even though some details were changed. I'm not sure what to think about the link between Veronica, the eclipse, and her menstrual cycle. I think maybe there was something decidedly innocent about her from the beginning if she hadn't started her period, which might make corrupting her more desirable to an inhuman spirit. She played with a Ouija board without knowing how to protect herself, which allowed her to be susceptible to possession. She also played with the Ouija board during an eclipse, and judging from the lesson the teacher was giving, a time of complete darkness could have allowed whatever inhuman spirit to have more power at that time and cross through more easily.
I think the movie was especially creepy in the parts where Veronica was about to go to sleep. I feared for her and her siblings, and felt very connected to her family. The only thing I didn't really understand was why Veronica, if she went to a Catholic school and had crosses in her house, didn't use the Bible, crosses, and Holy water to protect herself and her siblings from the inhuman spirit. She instead used Viking protection symbols, and I had a suspicion that maybe those didn't work because she didn't believe in them. She tried using a cross at one point, but it turned out the shadow she saw was her mother, not the inhuman spirit. It was strange she didn't use the cross again because it seemed to work. It may be because she wasn't truly Catholic, but I'm not sure about that because she never really talked about it.
I also think this: don't mess around with Ouija boards, and if you really want to and nothing is going to stop you, learn about how to protect yourself. I really don't understand why they are marketed as a toy, and wholly believe they are dangerous. I know they've been consistently depicted in movies and television as a way to contact evil spirits, but they can also be used to talk to benign spirits; the point is you don't know who it will be. It's the same thing as leaving a sign on your door that says "Want to talk? Come in!" You have no idea who it will be. By setting boundaries and protecting yourself, you control the situation.
If you have any questions about this movie, please feel free to ask.