By now you’ve no doubt heard about Veronica, the Netflix horror movie that is reportedly so scary that, as Fox News reports, viewers are turning it off halfway through. And if you don’t have access to Netflix, or are too afraid to try it yourself, the Inquisitr has got you covered. This writer took one for the team and watched it, and here’s my review.
Warning: the remainder of this article will contain spoilers for Veronica and for The Babadook (because there are a couple of similarities between the two movies). Proceed at your own risk.
Veronica is loosely – very loosely – based on actual events that happened in Spain in 1991. In the real Spanish case, a teenage girl fiddled about with a Ouija board, then found herself suffering seizures and hallucinations. She died a year later in a Madrid hospital, according to Newsweek, and a police report surrounding a visit to her home contains references to the paranormal. That’s about all there is to the facts of the story.
The movie takes that story and builds an entire mythology around it.
What’s The Gist?
It’s summer 1991 in Madrid, and in the wee hours of a Sunday morning, a police officer is called to an apartment building for reasons that will be revealed later. He bursts open the door to a bedroom and is visibly shocked by what he sees (though it’s not revealed on screen).
Cut to a few days earlier (Thursday) and 15-year-old Veronica finds herself taking care of her three younger siblings; her father has died and her mother is working long hours to support the family.
At school, Veronica and her friends sneak into a basement and break out the Ouija board, as Veronica is desperate to talk to her departed father. It… doesn’t go well.
Within hours, Veronica and her siblings find themselves tormented by a demon, and Veronica herself gets the worst of it. She concocts a plan to get rid of it, with the help of a blind nun, and it goes about as well as you’d expect. When the demon shows up in physical form, Veronica calls the police. They arrive, and this time the camera shows what the police officer witnessed back in the beginning: Veronica, her body contorted, screams and moans in agony as the demon tortures her. Then she collapses, dying as she’s being rushed into an ambulance.
So Were You Able To Finish It, Aaron?
In a word, yes. Other than getting up a couple of times to refill my herbal tea, I watched the movie from beginning to end with no interruptions. At no point did I even consider giving it up.
So It Wasn’t That Scary?
Movie reviews are subjective, and of course, everyone will react to horror differently based on their own fears and experiences as much as how they’re affected by the filmmaker’s craft. But no: it was undoubtedly scary, and indeed, a great horror film, but it was neither so scary that I couldn’t finish it nor is it even one of the top, oh, 20 or so horror movies that I’ve seen. And I’ve seen them all.
In fact, Veronica is not unlike The Babadook, more sad than scary. Both movies deal with families bedeviled by grief and already struggling before the paranormal comes and makes things worse. And at the end of the day, Veronica is about a mother who loses her daughter and three young siblings who lose their older sister. That’s more tragic than terrifying.
Also like The Babadook, which is an allegory about coming to terms with grief, Veronica is an allegory – this time about becoming a woman. And I’m not the only reviewer to draw that conclusion, as Nylon writer Erica Russell says the same thing. And while I loved Veronica leaps and bounds more than my begrudging tolerance of The Babadook, I remain not a fan of horror-as-allegory.
So, bottom line, is Veronica so scary that it’s impossible to watch? Not for this horror fan, no. Is Veronica a good horror movie worth watching? Absolutely.