The Devil's Backbone (Spanish: El espinazo del diablo) is a 2001 gothic horror film directed by Guillermo del Toro, and written by del Toro, David Muñoz, and Antonio Trashorras.
It was independently produced by Pedro Almodóvar as an international co-production between Spain and Mexico, and was filmed in Madrid.
Starvation, thirst, depravity, and violence are a daily part of their lives and they are all left to live their lives as the school sees fit.
The kids are ghosts, the teachers are ghosts, the bomb is a ghosts, Del Toro went hard with the ghosts in this one.
The way it is a spectre both literal and non-literally.
Heck, the doctor keeps a fetus sprouting the title malady in a jar on his shelf as a kind of macabre display.
In the narrative of Del Toro’s sophomore effort it isn’t subtle.
He has placed a bomb, active but considered a dud, into the center of a school for young, orphaned boys.
Each tile of the facility is subject to this pain, this bomb, this suffering of the freedom fighters in the woods.
Explosive devices surrounded by children demand a payoff, a tragedy of epic proportion, but our director provides a different option in that he decides the political destruction of a nation pales in comparison to the suffering of the children within said country.