This cinematic fairytale is alternately beautiful and brutal, and is easily one of the very best horror films of the last twenty years. Before helming PAN’S LABYRINTH, writer/director del Toro established himself as cinema’s leading visionary fantasist with this uniquely chilling, unforgettable masterwork.
The story follows a young boy interned at a boarding school in the ruins of the Spanish Civil War, but the bombers overhead are nowhere near as terrifying as the icy whispers from “The One Who Sighs,” the ghost of a child who haunts the grounds. Del Toro takes actual events and seamlessly weaves an epic of an entirely unique world of agony, fear, dedication and wrath. The tone is nearly that of a supernatural Spaghetti Western as penned by Roald Dahl, which could be completely ridiculous in anybody’s else’s hands — but del Toro’s talents send it into the cinematic stratosphere.