Veronica has been billed as “THE SCARIEST FILM CURRENTLY ON NETFLIX” and was reportedly inspired by an actual event, that many have compared to The Exorcist. Directed by Paco Plaza, the man who brought us the unnerving [REC] films, Veronica has been getting a lot of buzz and play on Netflix lately due to this boisterous claim. Needless to say, as a mega fan of horror, I had to check this out for myself and see if it lives up to the hype.
Set in Madrid, Spain in the year 1991, Veronica tells the story of the titular character and her young siblings. Veronica is a latch-key child, who has to act as a make shift mother for her younger siblings while keeping up her studies. Needless to say she is too young to be run ragged like this, but she finds an escape through a deep interest in the occult. This interest gets her in trouble with her mother and the nuns at the Catholic school she attends.
One day, while the entire school is out watching a total eclipse of the sun, Veronica stays behind with her friends to hold a seance with a Ouija board so they can contact Veronica’s dead father. They wind up getting the attention of something else and soon Veronica and her siblings find themselves beset by paranormal activities. Naturally, Veronica’s mother refuses to believe a word of it and the only adult willing to help her is the creepy blind nun the children call Sister Death.
Veronica does do a good job of establishing tension as well as its creepy setting. There are some moments of suspense where you truly fear for the children as well as some subtle moments of horror that make you back the film up to make sure you saw what you thought you saw. The performances of the child actors are realistic and believable and you genuinely care for these kids as the film progresses.
That said, the declaration of Veronica being “THE SCARIEST FILM CURRENTLY ON NETFLIX” is a bit of an exaggeration. The film is an interesting take on the paranormal/possession sub-genre of horror that has been seen over and over again in films like The Conjuring, Annabelle and Ouija: Origin of Evil. Still, while the tropes here are used in interesting ways, there is nothing that feels fresh or unique about Veronica.
While some moments are intense, other moments are also incredibly predictable, especially in regards to Sister Death – the wise, all-seeing yet blind nun. It’s a fine effort, but I did not find Veronica to be any scarier than other recently released horror films I have seen recently on Netflix. Fans of the genre looking for something more memorable should check out the intensely uncomfortable Creep films, which breathe new life into the tired sub-genre of found-footage films.
Still, I would say it is worth your time to bring it up on Netflix and see for yourself. While I personally didn’t find Veronica to be all that scary, your mileage may vary. If you ignore the hype and enjoy it for what it is, Veronica is a competently made if unoriginal horror movie.