Who needs 13 ghosts when one works just fine? Not your typical scarefest, this Devil of a film layers political commentary over the mournful story of a haunted orphanage during the Spanish Civil War. The Santa Lucia School, where 10-year-old Fernando Tielve gets dumped, is not any place you really want to hang out. First, there's that big, undetonated bomb stuck in the middle of the courtyard.
Then there are all those heavy breathing sounds late at night. No, it's not the adults having sex (though there's that, too); it's the moaning ghost of a murdered boy who cryptically warns Fernando that more people will soon die. But who killed him? The steely, one-legged headmistress? The school bully who draws violent cartoons? Or the greedy caretaker with anger-management issues? Creepy, complex and expertly crafted, Backbone sends shivers up the spine that linger for a good long time.