DISCLAIMER: The following piece may contain spoilers.
Tickets are being booked and theatres packed as people are getting ready to hang on the edge of their seats to watch Truth or Dare or A Quiet Place. As people are getting into the “horror-mood” for these newly released movies, it has stirred up talk of the recent Netflix film Veronica released last year, supposedly being claimed as one of the scariest movies of the year on the popular platform. According to multiple sources, nearly 70% of the viewers were unable to finish the film.
Relax. I took the time to watch Veronica so that you don’t have to. And I’m here to spill the beans on whether or not this film lives up to the hype.
What is it about this movie that appeared so terrifying to so many people? It may be how the movie was initially created. The movie Veronica was based on the real events of Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro, a young girl from Vallecas, Madrid, who died soon after playing with a Ouija board in 1990.
Estefania’s parents claim that their daughter started immersing herself in the occult as a young teenager. The peculiar case really ignited after Estefania used an Ouija board with her friends in school to try and contact one of her friends’ boyfriends who had died in an accident. After the “ritual” was interrupted by her teacher, Estefania’s friends describe seeing smoke go through her mouth and nose.
In the months following the interaction with the board, Estefania suffered from a number of peculiar anomalies: hallucinations, like seeing “evil shadows,” seizures and unpredictable rage toward her siblings. Months later, she was found dead in her bedroom, with no explanation.
The movie Veronica, by Spanish director Paco Plaza, is about a young girl with her three younger siblings who face strange events after attempting to contact her deceased father through a Ouija board.
Considering the backstory that inspired the making of this film is pretty freaky, you are certainly in for a scare. Still, I don’t know if I would say it is “the scariest film of the year” on Netflix. Considering the intensity of the film does rise towards the end, I would say Veronica flows as any other horror film would. On a scale of “oh, it ended?” to “I’ll never be able to sleep again,” I would personally say this film leaned more towards the lighter end of the spectrum.
Maybe it was the idea that this film was based on the only paranormal activity ever confirmed by official police reports that has audiences so spooked. In terms of the film’s quality of scare level, it was average at best. As the entire is entirely in Spanish, I may have been more focused on reading the English subtitles and missing the visuals – like the main character screaming as freakish hands attempt to drag her into the bed – you’ll understand if you watch the movie.
So, for all the horror fanatics out there, including myself, I recommend walking in with realistic expectations. For those of you who don’t typically watch horror films on a day to day basis, you could probably prepare yourself for a pretty good scare.
Since, in downplaying the effect of this supposed terror masterpiece, I am positioning myself as a specialist on the subject, I will leave you with some alternatives if you are, in fact, looking for a good hair-raiser over the summer holiday. Ranked from moderate to intense:
4. “Raw” (2016)
3. “The Visit” (2015)
2. “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” (2016)
1. “Baskin” (2016)