Short answer: no. Long answer: Veronica is a expertly shot demonic horror flick but it certainly isn't the most terrifying film you've ever seen.

Veronica is not the ‘scariest film ever’, as some reviewers might have you think. Since its completely unannounced release on Netflix earlier this year, the film by Horror director Paco Plaza (Rec, The Others) has garnered positively hyperbolic attention. From a blind, chain-smoking nun to a creepy young child and a home alone set up, Veronica has all the components of a classic, demonic possession horror.

That said…it’s not all that scary.

Veronica is loosely based on the story of a 15 year old girl in Madrid, who died in a set of unexplained circumstances in the early 1990s. Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro allegedly became interested in the occult with her schoolfriends, who set about trying to summon the late boyfriend of one of her friends using a Ouija board. During the seance, friends reportedly watched as smoke rose up through their friend’s nose and mouth, before the group were interrupted in their ritual by a teacher.

In Plaza’s offering, Veronica attempts to contact her dead father on the day of an eclipse using the Ouija board, in the basement of her school at which creepy, old nuns loiter in dark corners. Having passed out, her friends get spooked as she wakes, mouth stretched beyond norms as has become usual in many a horror trope. Chaos ensues as Veronica returns home to her three younger siblings, for whom she cares in the absence of their mother, and discovers a strange presence lurking about the house. It’s one scene in which her siblings bite chunks out of her, in a rare gory moment, that takes the biscuit for the creepiest moment in the film.

Netflix Veronica Horror

Consuelo Trujillo and Sandra Escasean in Paco Plaza’s Veronica. Photo: Apaches Entertainment/Expediente La Película A.I.E./Film Factory/Netflix

Sandra Escacena is an instant screen star as the titular character. The 17 year old actress carries herself on screen with a waif-like quality, and her grace combined with the morbid terror of the shadowy presence lurking in her house makes for compelling viewing. Escacena’s first feature film, the actress carries the plot. Aside from her mother (Ana Torrent) and three younger siblings (Iván Chavero, Claudia Placer and Bruna González), there are few other characters in the film. Consuelo Trujillo as Hermana Muerte (literally Sister Death) makes a captivating performance in her one scene in the school basement, but is rather underused when it comes to the film’s plot as a whole.

Paco Plaza certainly knows how to shoot a horror flick. His lighting and composition are sublime, his sets realistic and relatable, his pacing excellent. It’s a shame that the weakest part of his latest outing is the demonic entity itself. Although never seen in detail, the shadowy figure is almost seen a little too much so as to detract from the terror of what it could be. When it is finally revealed, the tale takes a delightfully dark twist.

Like 2015’s It Follows from David Robert Mitchell, Veronica falls into the category of horror films that in themselves aren’t all that scary. The idea is scary, the notion is scary, the events are scary, but the film itself isn’t. You won’t be covering your eyes, or lying awake at night thinking about it, but you will be congratulating Paco Plaza for creating a thrilling horror that holds your attention from start to finish. Veronica is old school, Ouija board horror storytelling at work.

★★★★☆

Veronica is available to stream on Netflix now.