Paco Plaza's Verónica was released on Netflix last week with little fanfare, some good critical buzz, and no major expectations from anyone other than fans of Plaza's
films. Only a few days after its Netflix release, however, articles began appearing calling it perhaps one of the scariest movies ever made. Audiences took to Twitter to record their dread in real time, often talking about how they had to turn the movie off because it was so scary. No film can accumulate that sort of immediate pop imprimatur without escaping the notice of any tenacious horror fan, eager to discover if Verónica lives up to its hype.
I too have now watched Verónica, and I can declare handily: It's not the scariest movie ever made. It is, however, a skillfully made haunted house movie that seeks to be about more than your average haunted house movie. And while director Plaza may have more interest in his excellently creepy visuals – if you've heard about the demon in the hallway, then you know what to prepare for – he does not mishandle the film's more pertinent themes of sexual hysteria, burdened adolescence, and the death of childhood.
"That says something about our culture right now." Netflix has debuted the trailer for a documentary titled Take Your Pills, from director Alison Klayman, which is premiering this week at the SXSW Film Festival. The documentary explores the rise in popularity of prescription stimulants such as Adderall in today's do-more-better-faster world. This seems like a very provocative and important film that challenges what society has come to accept. Executive produced by Maria Shriver and Christina Schwarzenegger, Take Your Pills examines what some view as "a brave new world of limitless possibilities", and others see as a sped-up ride down a synaptic slippery slope, as these pills have become the defining drug of a generation. Yow. As usual, Netflix is releasing this a week after its festival premiere, so it should be easy to catch if you want to watch. ›››