The Devil's Backbone (El Espinazo del diablo)
The Devil's Backbone (El Espinazo del diablo) (2001)

The mournful fable of the Santa Lucia School during the last days of the Spanish Civil War. An imposing stone building set on a desolate plateau, the school shelters the orphans of the Republican militia and politicians, and other abandoned… More

Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: June 25, 2002
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Rotten Tomatoes™
Critic Score
92%
Flixster
User Score
89%



Critic Score: 92% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Creepily atmospheric and haunting, The Devil's Backbone is both a potent ghost story and an intelligent political allegory.

Jami Bernard
New York Daily News

Guillermo Del Toro's The Devil's Backbone is a really cool ghost story with an extraordinary human and political dimension.

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Nathan Rabin
AV Club

The Devil's Backbone augments its abundant creepiness with an equally powerful poignancy.

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Austin Trunick
Under the Radar

Although spooky, The Devil's Backbone becomes weighed down by perhaps one too many subplots.

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Bruce Diones
New Yorker

Del Toro's elegant pacing and gothic touches imbue the proceedings with a cool mystery.

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Jonathan Holland
Variety

Though it fails in its final reels to capitalize on its early promise, pic is still stylish, accomplished and tremendously enjoyable fare.

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Serena Donadoni
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

What Del Toro provides with The Devil's Backbone is the recognition that evil exists within the most routine of circumstances. That knowledge is as old as humanity's belief in the fantastic, and just as powerful.

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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal

It's a horror flick, and a creepily good one, that also functions as an allegory of the war that still haunts Spain seven decades later.

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Martin Rubin
Chicago Reader

An entertaining and atmospheric revenge tale.

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Michael Sragow
Baltimore Sun

You may find that images from this movie clamber back into your memory weeks after you see it, and give your spine a chill.

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Flixster Audience Score: 89% Flixster User Reviews
Edward Boxler
The Devil's Backbone is more sad than frightening. It focuses on the children in an orphanage with nowhere to turn to as the Spanish Civil War soon empties… More
Chris Weber
Guillermo del Toro's third time in the director's chair sees him making a supernatural spook story set during the Spanish Civil War. Though there are… More
Alex roy
Guillermo del Toro's The Devil's Backbone is a stunning, atmospheric horror tale that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Del… More
xGary Xx
Pan's Labyrinth was not Guillermo Del Toro's first stab at a story that mixes fantasy with a tale of the Spanish civil war. In the Devil's… More
Stuart Brooks
Fantastic ghost story, brooding and menacing, always tense and brilliantly acted.
Apeneck Fletcher
During the Spanish Civil War a boy is unceremoniously deposited at an out of the way delapidated orphanage, and so begins this beautifully photographed drama… More

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