MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Up 380 this week

The Devil's Backbone (2001)
"El espinazo del diablo" (original title)

 -  Drama | Horror  -  20 April 2001 (Spain)
7.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 39,804 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 192 user | 152 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

After Carlos, a 12-year-old whose father has died in the Spanish Civil War, arrives at an ominous boy's orphanage he discovers the school is haunted and has many dark secrets that he must uncover.

Director:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Fall TV Premiere Week

Many of your favorite shows are coming back, along with plenty of series premieres. Here's a list of the shows premiering between Sunday, September 21 and Friday, September 26.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 45 titles
created 21 Feb 2011
 
list image
a list of 21 titles
created 17 Sep 2012
 
a list of 45 titles
created 26 Feb 2013
 
a list of 41 titles
created 04 Apr 2013
 
a list of 22 titles
created 10 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Devil's Backbone (2001)

The Devil's Backbone (2001) on IMDb 7.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Devil's Backbone.

User Polls

6 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Cronos (1993)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A mysterious device designed to provide its owner with eternal life resurfaces after four hundred years, leaving a trail of destruction in its path.

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Claudio Brook
Mimic (1997)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Three years ago, entomologist Dr. Susan Tyler genetically created an insect to kill cockroaches carrying a virulent disease. Now, the insects are out to destroy their only predator, mankind.

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Alexander Goodwin
The Orphanage (2007)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.

Director: J.A. Bayona
Stars: Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep
Drama | Fantasy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López
Shutter II (2004)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young photographer and his girlfriend discover mysterious shadows in their photographs after a tragic accident. They soon learn that you can not escape your past.

Directors: Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom
Stars: Ananda Everingham, Natthaweeranuch Thongmee, Achita Sikamana
Doña Lupe (1985)
Short | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Josefina Gonzalez de Silva, Jose Luis Vallejo
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer's books have on his fans is more than inspirational.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Sam Neill, Jürgen Prochnow, Julie Carmen
Tesis (1996)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

While doing a thesis about violence, Ángela finds a snuff video where a girl is tortured until death. Soon she discovers that the girl was a former student in her faculty...

Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Stars: Ana Torrent, Fele Martínez, Eduardo Noriega
Blade II (2002)
Action | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Blade forms an uneasy alliance with the vampire council in order to combat the Reaper vampires who feed on vampires.

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman
Julia's Eyes (2010)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The story of a woman who is slowly losing her sight whilst trying to investigate the mysterious death of her twin sister.

Director: Guillem Morales
Stars: Belén Rueda, Lluís Homar, Pablo Derqui
Hellboy (2004)
Action | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A demon, raised from infancy after being conjured by and rescued from the Nazis, grows up to become a defender against the forces of darkness.

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Ron Perlman, Doug Jones, Selma Blair
Geometria (1987)
Horror | Short | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A boy is tired of failing geometry, so he summons a demon.

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Fernando Garcia Marin, Guadalupe Del Toro, Napo
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Carmen
...
...
Dr. Casares
...
Íñigo Garcés ...
Jaime
...
Conchita
José Manuel Lorenzo ...
Marcelo
Francisco Maestre ...
El Puerco (as Paco Maestre)
Junio Valverde ...
Santi
Berta Ojea ...
Alma
Adrián Lamana ...
Gálvez
Daniel Esparza ...
Marcos
Miguel Ortiz
Javier Bódalo ...
Búho (as Javier González Madrigal)
Edit

Storyline

It is 1939, the end of three years of bloody civil war in Spain, and General Franco's right-wing Nationalists are poised to defeat the left-wing Republican forces. A ten-year-old boy named Carlos, the son of a fallen Republican war hero, is left by his tutor in an orphanage in the middle of nowhere. The orphanage is run by a curt but considerate headmistress named Carmen and a kindly Professor Casares, both of whom are sympathetic to the doomed Republican cause. Despite their concern for him, and his gradual triumph over the usual schoolhouse bully, Carlos never feels completely comfortable in his new environment. First of all, there was that initial encounter with the orphanage's nasty caretaker, Jacinto, who reacts even more violently when anyone is caught looking around a particular storage room the one with the deep well. Second, and more inexplicable, is the presence of a ghost, one of the former occupants of the orphanage named Santi. Not long after Carlos' arrival, Santi ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

orphanage | ghost | boy | 12 year old | tutor | See more »

Taglines:

The living will always be more dangerous than the dead. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

20 April 2001 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Backbone  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$16,290 (Hong Kong) (25 October 2002)

Gross:

$16,290 (Hong Kong) (25 October 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Jaime is heavily inspired by the famous Spanish comic writer Carlos Giménez. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[voice over narration]
Casares: What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber.
See more »

Crazy Credits

El 11 de agosto de 2000, durante el rodaje de esta película, nació Luna, hija de Toni y Elisabeth y niña de todos (On the 11th of August, 2002, while this movie was being filmed, Luna was born, a daughter for Toni and Elisabeth, and a child for all of us). See more »

Connections

Featured in Horror Europa with Mark Gatiss (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Yo no sé que me han hecho tus ojos
Written by Francisco Canaro (as F. Canaro)
Performed by Carlos Gardel
Courtesy Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Masterful Spanish ghost story - an instant classic
6 May 2005 | by See all my reviews

THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE (El Espinazo del Diablo)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Sound format: Dolby Digital

During the Spanish Civil War, a young orphan boy (Fernando Tielve) is sent to an isolated boarding school where he encounters the ghost of a murdered child (Junio Valverde) who warns him of impending disaster...

A masterpiece. Filmed in Spain by writer-director Guillermo del Toro following his unhappy Hollywood debut (MIMIC), this spellbinding melodrama works both as an examination of the political turmoil which characterized the Spanish Civil War, and as a simple ghost story in which a tragic spirit seeks vengeance for a terrible crime. Employing restless camera-work and atmospheric set designs to their best advantage, del Toro visualizes his own script (co-written with Antonio Trashorras and David Muñoz) as the story of a vulnerable child cast adrift in a strange new world, where he must contend not only with everyday problems (such as the school bully, Ínigo Garcés, whose motives are rather more complex than they first appear), but also his frequent encounters with the unhappy ghost, some of which are genuinely unsettling (watch out for the heart-stopping sequence in which Tielve is besieged in a closet by the enraged phantom).

Production values are first-class throughout, ranging from César Macarrón's evocative art direction and Salvador Mayolas' ultra-creepy sound design, through to Luis de la Madrid's crisp editing skills and Javier Navarrete's unforgettable music score. Visual effects and makeup designs are also superb, though deliberately underplayed for maximum emotional effect. The cast is toplined by Spanish movie veterans Marisa Paredes (a favorite of Pedro Almodóvar) and Federico Luppi (CRONOS), and there are impressive turns by Irene Visedo as a young woman whose loyalties are divided by circumstances, and rising star Eduardo Noriega (the Spanish equivalent of Brad Pitt) as Visedo's boyfriend, an orphan-turned-caretaker whose volatile nature leads to a dramatic conclusion, with appalling consequences for everyone around him. Tielve is magnificent as the wide-eyed innocent at the center of the narrative, and Garcés is every bit his equal as the bully who reclaims his dignity during a climactic showdown with the forces of evil. Released around the same time as THE OTHERS (2001) - another Spanish ghost story, filmed in English as a vehicle for Nicole Kidman - THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE was consigned to Art-house distribution by virtue of its status as a subtitled movie and suffered a comparative loss at the US box-office, though del Toro's magical fever dream is unquestionably the better of the two films.

(Spanish dialogue)


61 of 73 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
what , no english audio again ? auto78900
Sometimes I really hate distributors mike-wright-1
Better than pan's? tburrowes
overrated anyone?? shootme243
Blurred photograph baggerman0
WHy were the foetus's being stored hardbore
Discuss The Devil's Backbone (2001) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?