A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Veronica is a 2017 Spanish horror movie in which a teen girl unleashes horrific paranormal activity after using a Ouija board to contact her deceased father. The movie is in Spanish with English subtitles. While there are some moments rife with horrific and demonic imagery, anyone curious about the hype claiming that this is "the scariest movie" ever will be disappointed. A girl attempts suicide with a mirror shard. During one of her many nightmares, the lead character is shown getting eaten alive by her younger siblings; they eat her thumbs and arms as flesh, blood, and sinew are graphically shown. In another nightmare, the girl's deceased father is shown as a naked zombie slowly approaching her. An elderly nun with opaque blinded eyes who attempts to exorcise the demons she senses inside the lead character will surely give nightmares to younger and more sensitive viewers. Teens drink and smoke at a party. Occasional profanity, including "f--k." There are enough scares to be disturbing to teens and adults who are susceptible to nightmares from horror movies.
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What's the story?
During a solar eclipse in 1991, while everyone else in the Catholic girls' school she attends is outside watching it happen, 15-year-old VERONICA goes to the attic of the girls' Catholic school she attends, joined by her friends Irene and Lucia. They set up a Ouija board and conduct a seance in the hopes of making contact with Verónica's deceased father. To the dismay of Irene and Lucia, the game takes a disturbing turn when Verónica appears to be possessed, paralytic, and whispering that she's going to die soon. In the apartment where Verónica lives with her three younger siblings, strange things start to happen. Verónica begins to have visions: a naked zombie version of her father lurching toward her, her siblings trying to eat her alive, lights flickering, TVs turning on and off, fire, blood, demons, the youngest sibling believing that the father has read him a story. As Irene and Lucia, completely creeped out, begin to distance themselves from Verónica, the only one who's aware of what's happening is an elderly blind nurse the kids call "Sister Death," a nun presumed by the other nuns to be senile and deranged and therefore left in the attic. Sister Death tells Verónica that she must find the proper way to end the seance she started with her friends, and only then will she have a chance to survive. After believing she has found the solution, Verónica attempts another seance -- this time with her two younger sisters as her brother watches. During this seance, Verónica must find a way to contain the demons she has unleashed and prevent them from wreaking further havoc on her and her family.
Is it any good?
While disturbing, violent, and creepy, this is most definitely not "the scariest movie ever made!" Not by a long shot. While the acting is above-average, especially for a horror movie, and there are some frightening moments of haunting demonic imagery, this is basically another tale of teens unwittingly unleashing paranormal terror. It's a "Demon Git-R-Dun To-Do List" familiar to any horror movie fan: Make lights turn on and off, slam doors, possess poor Verónica while she's trying to eat dinner, etc., until said demons get bored with these antics and turn increasingly murderous.
Then the movie muddies the waters. Are the demons inside or outside poor Verónica? Was the father a good or bad person, and if bad, why would Verónica try to bring him back via a Ouija board? Even with the heavy-handed flashback montage reminders of plot points the viewer might have missed, it's unclear what exactly has been let loose to scare everyone. The result is a lot of occult and Catholic imagery paired with the requisite predictable and occasionally less predictable scares layered over the kind of "demons set loose" story seen in so many other horror movies. Horror fans will probably enjoy Veronica. Definitely not for kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about horror movies. How does Veronica compare to other horror movies you've seen?
The movie claims that the story is "based on actual events." How does this disclaimer add to any terror and suspense the movie might hold for the viewer? What are some other examples of horror movies allegedly "based on actual events"?
How was nightmarish imagery used to scare audiences in this movie? How was horror movie violence used?
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