Similarities will be made with the same director's Pan's
Labyrinth, although The Devil's Backbone predates it by 5 years.
Set during the Spanish Civil War, at a remote setting, with
children as the key characters, whose eyes filter out the politics involved in the on-going war. Guillermo del Toro's direction also allows the story to be told through atmospheric photography
and macabre production design, rather than blood and gore effects.
After his father dies, a 10-year old is sent to a desert
orphanage, where a ageing professor and a crippled widow hope to protect them from the war outside the walls, but the true danger exists within the walls, initially in the form of a bullying
older boy, the rumours of another orphan who disappeared, and the janitor with an attitude (Eduardo Noriega), a former child of the orphanage.
mysterious ghost story with hidden messages about the political landscape at the time, The Devil's Backbone is worth a watch simply for the chilling style in which it's filmed.