Espinazo del Diablo, El (2001, SPA/MEX) C-107m. *** D: Guillermo del Toro. Starring Eduardo Noriega, Marisa Paredes, Federico Luppi, Inigo Garces, Fernando Tielve. Original drama set in 1930s Spain, where the civil war casts a giant shadow over remote school run by Noriega. Newcomer Tielve, an orphan like many of his comrades, is soon to make contact with the ghost of a little boy that is haunting the fortress-like school. What's the mystery behind the apparition? Intelligent ghost story, well-directed by del Toro. Creepy and absorbing, although film gives away its option for greatness by putting all the blame on one character and ending like a crime story (the final twist is chilling, though). Produced by Pedro Almodóvar. English title: THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE.

© Ron Altman