Devil's Backbone, The
During the Spanish civil war, Carlos, a boy who’s lost his parents, gets dropped in an orphenage by his mentor. Not knowing that his real parents are dead, Carlos has to adapt to the rules of the orphenage, get along with all the other kids, and try to stay out of the way of the housekeeper Jacinto who doesn’t like the children. If that isn’t enough, he one night hears “The One Who Sighs”, a ghost that appeared the day a bomb struck the orphenage. While Carlos tries to fit in with the other children, the civil war is getting closer and time is running out as the ghost tells him that “many of you are going to die”, proclaiming a great disaster will happen.
Sound and Vision:
Let’s start with the good news: image sharpness, contrast, depth of black and color balance are good. Unfortunately, that’s also where it ends. The movie is recorded on the dvd in a very low bitrate (3 Mbit/sec) and contains loads of compression errors and posterisation. Also, the movie is not in its original 1.85:1 anamorphic version but a non-anamorphic one which degrades the vertical resolution significantly. Another thing that could have been done better : when the disc changes layer, it’s in the middle of a scene and rather than looking like a layer change it’s like there’s an error on the disc with the image holding for a second first, then going on, after which the sound halts for a second. Really annoying.
The good part, however, is the sound. Throughout the film, the sound creates an atmosphere of tention in a very subtle way. The Dolby 5.1 track is really great both with large effects like an explosion aswell as small details like a fly which flies around the room and which you hear going through all surround speakers one by one. Top-notch !
Guillermo Del Toro created with The Devil’s Backbone one hell of a movie. Don’t expect your average thriller/horror fest as Del Toro managed to film it in a very artistic way with a lot of atmosphere and a pace which gets you at the end of your chair waiting for what’s going to happen. Great stuff! Too bad for the image quality