FearTASTIC Vault O’FUN #55
Director(s): Paco Plaza
Writer(s): Fernando Navarro, Paco Plaza
Starring: Sandra Escacena, Bruna González, Claudia Placer, Ivan Chávero
Okay, let me first admit that I am a constant sucker for click bait.
Yes, your FearTASTIC Vault Keeper can’t help himself but to click on anything geek related (especially horror geek related) with a Top 10 this or an Exclusive Look that and for the most part, it’s semi – interesting at best. It doesn’t stop me however, from being curious about an arbitrary factoid about something I adore in the pop culture world. Horror click bait is quite rare to come across so imagine my surprise when I was perusing my social media and on two, yes TWO separate click bait articles, the heading of each one pretty much read that the scariest and creepiest horror flick in the last couple years has hit Netflix like comet riding on the back of Superman who was piggy backing on the Flash! It’s been a while since a horror flick was able to catch my attention via social media, so needless to say, my intrigue was peaked. Call it cynicism, but I know that most click bait is satisfactory at best, so a part of me wanted to watch this flick with the sole purpose of tearing it down and telling everyone in that smug, anti – establishment way that the movie was all hype and no substance.
One of the articles however, mentioned that part of the creepiness of the movie was the fact that this flick was based off a true story that was one of the first official police reports that documented paranormal activity. Although most flicks take liberties with the source material, especially for the paranormal kind I can imagine, something was triggered in my brain and belly that this flick MUST be watched. I found a nice quiet Sunday to check it out on the streaming Mecca and surprising treasure trove of horror flicks that is Netflix and to the best of my ability, I tried to wipe my mind clean so I can be objective to the hype that was Veronica.
The story is simple enough with three teenagers, including the titular character Veronica, performing a séance with Ouija board in their high school during a solar eclipse with the goal of contacting the dead (namely Veronica’s dead father). The ladies are abruptly interrupted however which then caused the Ouija board to cause terror to the ladies before they could escape. Strange (and more importantly) creepy events begin to follow Vernoica to her home, leading to a final showdown between Veronica and the evil she must face to save her family and herself.
I must say, I was quite impressed with the pacing of the story and the lead actress playing Veronica, Sandra Escacena. Although the movie does fall into some basic horror tropes that follow the same formula, tricks and looks from other horror flicks, there was enough creepiness in the pacing of the story that almost felt like classic Hitchcock at times because it didn’t ramp up the real scares until about the last 5-10 minutes. Like any movie deriving from a “true story,” there were some elements that were added for cinematic effect that seemed painfully obvious, such as the blind nun that warns Veronica about her fate but the slow burn of Veronica being pursued by something evil was a nice touch and the slight twist in the reveal about the true evil was pretty clever from a story standpoint. The final ending that explained the relevancy of the case itself was done in a way that left you uneasy at the end which is a sign excellency in the horror realm.
A good sign that made Veronica such an effective horror flick is how I wanted to learn more about the real life case afterwards. The real case revolved around Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro who like Veronica, conducted a séance using an Ouija board with her friends. Estefania begin having seizures and claimed that evil beings begin to follow her around. As time passed, Estefania became quite ill and died from causes that doctors could not diagnose. Months after her death, her parents begin to claim supernatural activity and called the police who after investigating the household documented that paranormal activity was indeed present in the Gutierrez household.
So, what’s the verdict? Was it worth the hype? Not exactly. It’s not the scariest movie I’ve seen in a while but it did peak my interest. It’s pretty creepy in its own right in the sense of the brilliant performances and the nice pacing of the story. I’m quite glad I got to check this flick out and would be a fun addition to the FearTASTIC Vault. Moral of the story? No, you don’t always have to believe the hype but ignoring it altogether is just as ignorant.
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.