Being the movie buff that I am, I decided to attempt to watch “Verónica”, a movie that has recently been called the scariest movie on Netflix. While I figured that those self-proclaimed titles might just be clickbait, I bit anyways. I popped some popcorn, turned on all the lights, and settled in for a movie that I had hoped would change my view on scary movies forever. So did it? No, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a scary flick.
"Verónica" is a film based on the real-life police reports based on an unsolved case in Madrid in 1992. Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro was around 15 years old when she and her friends decided to play with a Ouija board in order to contact the late spirit of a friend’s boyfriend. Soon after the game, Lazaro began hallucinating, experiencing seizures, and claiming she was possessed. After six months of suffering, Lazaro randomly died at a hospital. The police and the family noticed “unexplainable” activity in the house following her death.
So yeah, the movie is based on this case. Creeped out yet?
The movie, while it changes the main character’s name from Estefania to Verónica (or Vero for short), condenses these incidents from six months to three days.
The movie, which is entirely in Spanish but contains English subtitles, starts off with a blank screen and a recap of the 911 call that we assume is made by the main character, Veronica. Once the call is over, the screen switches to show a group of police and detectives bursting into the house and stopping dead in their tracks after seeing something that makes them react like this.
We then cut to daytime, and the time card states that it is three days prior to the event that will take place. The movie changes slightly from the true story throughout the plot.
A quick synopsis: Verónica is the oldest (15) of four siblings: Irene (8?), Lucia (8?) and Antoñito (4?). Verónica acts as the mom of the house while her actual mother works opening and closing shifts every day at work. Their father passed years prior. On day one, Vero and her friends, Rosa and Diana, use the distraction of the solar eclipse to sneak away from their Catholic school and hold a seance so that they can contact their loved ones. The timing of the eclipse and the Ouija board cause some mighty powerful spirits to take over, and things, obviously, go downhill from there. (But when do things ever really go right for anyone with a Ouija board?)
The movie has some predictable jump scares and uses some classic horror movie tropes such as electronic disturbances, bumps in the night, and, of course, mother dearest doesn’t believe any of the occurrences are real. But the movie, directed by Paco Plaza, has a way of taking classic horror ideas and adding a fresh take to them. You’ll understand the moment you see, or don’t see, the shadow that may be possessing Verónica.
It’s a horror thriller with a twist you won’t expect coming. It’s fresh, it’s scary, but I wouldn’t say that it’s the scariest film ever. It's not even the scariest film on Netflix. (If you’re looking for unnerving horror, check out "Creep!", "Hush", "Quarantine", etc.) But I do think that this movie definitely deserves a place on the shelf as one of the scariest and disturbing films on Netflix right now.
I give it a 7.5/10. It’s worth the watch -- which I recommend doing with the lights on