12th October 2017 9.30pm at Vue West End
14th October 2017 3.15pm at Prince Charles Cinema
Based on a true story – inspired by a police report – Paco Plaza’s Veronica is not yet another tale about foolish girls with a Ouija board and demonic possession. Truth is stranger than fiction and the events depicted – though often classic horror fare – represent what actually happened in the 1990s in Madrid, which gives the film a dimension of engagement and intrigue. The movie opens with a frantic call to emergency services for help, setting the scene for the build up to a mysteriously terrifying event.
A fatherless 15-year-old girl, Veronica (Sandra Escacena) must take care of her much younger siblings as her mother works most of the time. A sense of her aloneness is established, and that she misses her deceased father. The teenager has the idea of trying to contact his spirit via a seance and she and two other girls secretly slip into a murky, spooky dungeon-like basement of their convent school to use the Ouija board they discover there. Consulting a book also found, The Great Encyclopedia of the Occult, and some magazines on black magic, they endeavour to be as accurate as possible in terms of using symbols and phrases to conjure the dead. Almost immediately something terrifyingly aggressive takes over the Ouija board and Veronica falls into a trance-like seizure.
After this incident increasingly bizarre and frightening happenings invade the teenager’s life, also affecting her small siblings. She sees visions of a monstrous looking man and a spectre of her father appears, at one point nude and seeming to attack her, raising the question of whether she was abused by him; and the situation grows increasingly violent and insane.
The feature contains many classic horror scenes and motifs, typical of the genre, like an arm coming out of a mattress, otherworldly voices, the standard slow walk toward a closed door in a “who’s behind the door” moment, and a decidedly scary-looking blind nun (Consuelo Trujillo) they call “Sister Death”, who is psychic and sees entities from beyond.
Pablo Rosso’s dramatic camerawork in Veronica highlights the intensity of the scenes, especially the most harrowing moments, accompanied by mood affecting music that increases the shock effect. Strong, natural acting, a good script and capable direction yield an entertaining, thrilling piece – intriguing because it really happened.
Veronica does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2017 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Veronica here: