Veronica: Does It Deserve The Hype?
Blind nuns. Ouija boards. Demons. Catholic schoolgirls. All of the elements of a great demonic possession movie are in place for 2017's Veronica, a Spanish film that just recently hit Netflix and garnered plenty of popularity on social media.
If you are aware of this film, then you're almost certainly aware of the viral marketing campaign behind it. If you haven't seen it yet, you're probably dying to because you've seen memes calling it "the scariest movie ever," or boasting that it's "a movie so scary that it could actually kill you."
A movie with that kind of buzz is bound to be worth watching, right? Well, let's start from the beginning and work our way up to that.
Veronica is the story of a young high school girl in 1991 Madrid named Veronica, who I must say, actually looks like a real high schooler instead of a 30-year-old H&M model (here's looking at you, Hollywood) that holds a seance with some friends in an attempt to speak with her dead father (with the help of a Ouija board of course). Something goes terribly wrong, however, and the girls end up contacting a demon. The demon follows Veronica to her family's apartment and strange things begin to happen while she and her younger siblings are at home alone.
Eventually, it plays out like most movies of its kind. A few scary moments here, some creepy occurrences there. There's a bit of a twist at the end but not enough to blow one's mind. The cinematography is pretty good though the tone is never quite right. But despite the minor flaws that a movie like this could have, I can get in on it. And I WAS in on it at first. But it wasn't the somewhat cliche premise, or even the overhyping of this film (which I'll be honest, I fell victim to the social media campaigns that were behind its Netflix marketing) that killed it for me, it was the stakes; there were none.
We watch horror movies to get scared. We want to feel that feeling of suspense, like there's something on the line, all from the comfort of our couch or movie theatre seat where, no matter how scared we get, we know that ultimately we are going to stay alive, but still get that adrenaline rush of something being at stake. That is where Veronica goes wrong. When a horror movie follows a young woman and her three child siblings, we know that at the end, they're all going to make it out alive. The writer, director, producer- they all know that nobody wants to see the main character, let alone her adorable little brother and sisters, perish in some kind of horrific way, so of course, they arrive at the end of the film, though maybe traumatized, mostly preserved. And at least for me, it was that basic flaw that kept me from being fully invested in the plot, from letting myself really get nervous or frightened. Which was the whole point of checking this movie out in the first place.
I do, however, admire Veronica for its attempt to tell a story and break down some of the typical confines of the possession genre, so I'm going to give it:
3 out of 5 skulls.
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