Continuing with our Halloween creep-fest, I found THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE on Netflix for tonight. I really liked the Guillermo del Toro films I had previously seen, especially El Orfanato and Pan's Labyrinth. This film is a bizarre amalgamation of those two. It takes place in an orphanage in Franco's Spain, with a lot of echos of both those films (although this film is from 2001, so the echos are the other way around).
Del Toro is a great visual director, and does very well with the ghost story aspect. There is one crap-your-pants "boo" in the film that is very effective. The characters are interesting, the acting is good, for the most part (again, it's the children that stand out), and there's some nice sound design and music. The story is a little too predictable in part, but the execution is excellent. It's pretty creepy, but certainly not a horror film. I would however recommend it to people who liked Pan's Labyrinth but have not yet seen this.