Ah, yes, The Devil’s Backbone: the decent version of The New Mutants, where the protagonist can actually act pretty sufficiently, the bully has a legitimate backstory to comprehend their motives, and the horror is somewhat effective thanks to Guillermo del Toro’s unequivocal creativity to parallel ghosts with civil war trauma. Also, the “orphanage” looks kinda DOPE this time around.
This 2001 effort does seriously appear like a precursor or “the potential” that later brought us Pan’s Labyrinth with its innocent-gone kids vs. violent, war-hungry adults dynamic. It took only 5 years for del Toro to patch up the plot drawbacks in The Devil’s Backbone to later make a masterpiece!
“The Devil’s Backbone” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel.