“What goes on in that place in the dark?” – “Veronica” by Elvis Costello, 1989
Elvis Costello did not have a horror movie in mind when he released his song 29 years ago, but the aforementioned lyric could definitely apply to director Paco Plaza’s (“[REC]” (2007)) latest film “Veronica”.
Released on Netflix, “Veronica” is a creepy horror film that you can “enjoy” at home. Set in Madrid in 1991, Veronica (Sandra Escacena) – a 15-year-old girl – talks two of her schoolmates into summoning her late father’s spirit via a Ouija board. As one might expect, when one pulls out a Ouija board in a movie (see also “Ouija” (2014), “Ouija: Origin of Evil” (2017), “Paranormal Activity” (2007), etc.), bad things will happen.
Plaza delivers frights and creepy terrors at night, but also in broad daylight in the middle of one of Spain’s most populated cities. Even though Veronica is surrounded by plenty of people who might offer some help, she feels isolated in fighting the evil that lurks from an alternative known universe. “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968) and “Candyman” (1992) are other movies set in a similar urban environment that deliver the same sorts of feelings too.
Also, four kids, including three elementary school children, are the victims of this sinister spirit, and their young ages offer up a vulnerability that will resonate and/or somewhat torture the audience too.
Plaza relies on jump scares at times, but he includes enough disturbing imagery and sequences – and a retro soundtrack reminiscent of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984) and “It Follows” (2016) – that will satisfy, although not bowl over, most horror movie audiences.
What goes on in that place in the dark, Veronica? Scary stuff, for sure.
⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Image credits: Apaches Entertainment, Film Factory; Trailer credits: BFI