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January 1, 2024

A Binge too Far #37 – Paco Plaza’s Colossal Faith Horrors duo (2017 – 2023)

Stunning frame from Netflix's Sister Death (2023)

Happy New Year! For me New Year’s Eve is always about changes and setting new goals. Well, for starters, I thought I’d change the way my posts work in Cinema Head Cheese. You’ll still be getting one post per month by yours truly but for 2024 you’ll have Static Age installments on June and December, and for every other moth you’ll have A Binge too Far installments. In other words, every five A Binge too Far posts, will be followed by one Static Age post. I decided upon this new arrangement in order for Static Age to grow even bigger and include more content each time (I’m thinking more than 2,500 words and more than fifteen series tackled per post), while of course A Binge too Far will remain pretty much the same, with a special that’ll included a couple of reviews in each post. Got it? This time we’ll take a brief look on the two recent nun horror hits by Paco Plaza.


Veronica (2017) poster



Set in Madrid, Spain, in 1991, this is about the titular teenager (Sandra Escacena, in her feature film debut), often called simply Vero here, who has the brilliant idea of holding an Ouija board session (in order to get in touch with her dead father) with her younger siblings (Bruna Gonzalez, Claudia Placer, and Ivan Chavero) during a solar eclipse, no less. Of course everything goes wrong, and the family is now hunted by an array of paranormal activities, and a monstrous presence that is definitely up to no good.


Director Paco Plaza (who also penned the screenplay with Fernando Navarro, which is based on true events - The events on which the movie is roughly based upon concern the story of Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro, who was a year or two older than the film’s Veronica, and who indeed conducted an Ouija board session (albeit with two classmates rather than siblings) and died six months later, which resulted in supposed paranormal activity in her house.) is better known for co-directing (with Jaume Balaguero) [REC] (2007), which is in my opinion the 2000s single scariest movie to come out of Europe. His new film Veronica, does not disappoint either, as the Spaniard filmmaker is back with a master-class in directing, full of one-shots, camera movements, and inspired shots all around (the cinematography and the camera work by Pablo Rosso is impressive to say the least). However, what steals the show is the rock soundtrack with its Gothic undertones that is actually the best I heard in many years. The performing band Heroes del Silencio provides us with poetic lyrical brilliance that is bordering on the genius, and what’s more it blends amazingly well with the visuals.


I am enthusiastic, but to be honest the film is not without its faults, and these include its slow tempo which occasionally becomes difficult to sit though (considering the lengthy 105 minutes running time) and is very unlike its U.S. counterparts (although I’m sure that people like Tony Strauss will love it more just for that). Additionally, because the special effects are top-notch and quite modern they appear out of place in a period piece that is supposedly set in the 1990s. Come to think of it, everything here looks 2017, aside from the cast’s inability to access the internet or mobile phones, because they didn’t have those in 1991. But these flaws are merely noticeable, and you should definitely watch this, as there is so much style in every little detail in it. Plus, a television is screening Who Can Kill A Child? (1976).


Sister Death (2023) poster

Sister Death


Set in a socially and politically turbulent Spain, this prequel to Veronica (2017) reviewed above, tells the story of how Narcisa (Aria Bedmar), following a miracle that she witnessed in 1939, decided to become a novice nun ten years later and teach young girls that have taken the path of the Lord.


An all-around superior follow-up to his horror hit from six years ago, this eerie opus from director Paco Plaza (who also penned the screenplay with Jorge Guerricaechevarria) is featuring haunting and grotesque imagery that will stay for you for a long time, but its real power lies in its subtle built up that relies on atmosphere before exploding with a massively horrific finale. It premiered at the 56th Sitges Film Festival to much acclaim, and is now available on Netflix.

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