Ro: 5 Star - The Devil's Backbone for me is very demonstrative of the quintessential del Toro. It's a perfect complementary film to Pan's (even though this came first, Pan's remains the strongest example of del Toro's work thus far). The story is told from an innocent's point-of-view who's exposed to a truly evil element during a tumultuous historical period. The biggest difference between the two movies is the fantastical element, which in this film is more of a subtle spooky ambiance with a few gotcha moments. The kids deliver strong performances and Eduardo Noriega is absolutely one of my favorite bad guys to watch.
Joe: 4 Star - I have always enjoyed seeing a horror film through the eyes of a child. In The Devil's Backbone, we get to experience this ghost story from the perspective of a twelve year old boy. The atmosphere of this film is excellent because the orphanage is a remote and self-contained compound with a unique history. Guillermo del Toro displays an innate ability to connect his viewers to the emotions of a child. This ability also stands out in his masterpiece Pan's Labyrinth. I definitely recommend this film to atmospheric horror fans, ghost story fans, and fans of good foreign films.