Guillermo del Toro

1993
Cronos 28
[ It begins with a somewhat intriguing prologue, followed by rather clunky scenes involving an old antique dealer (Federico Luppi). The introduction of Ron Pearlman piques our interest, obviously, but the first act remains mostly dull, despite some creepy moments. Half an hour in, nothing much has happened, which is problematic in a 90 minute film. We slowly discover what the Cronos device does, the old antique dealer uses it a few times and gets roughed up by Pearlman because of it… Eventually, at around the hour mark, this fully becomes a horror/fantasy film for reasons I won’t reveal. But don’t expect much thrills, scares or anything. Just a few more creepy moments, amidst a lot of boring, pointless sequences. I didn’t know Guillermo del Toro had such a lame film in him. ]

1997
Mimic

2001
The Devil’s Backbone 93
[ “What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber.”

First off, I was surprised by the golden hues of the cinematography and the desert location, expecting this to be as oppressively dark and dank as the usual ghost stories. The ghost itself is a wonderful creation, both for the amazing special effects work and the more sad than scary context of the haunting. Beyond the ghost, there are great touches all around: the dud bomb in the yard, the doctor selling “limbo water”, the headmistress’ fake leg, the asshole guard looking for treasure, the kids’ love of comic books… Speaking of which, del Toro truly has a way with children, being true to their feelings without idealizing them or making them into stupid movie brats. Set in an orphanage near the end of the Spanish Civil War, the film masterfully juggles fantasy/horror, political and personal drama and comes up with a powerful, multi-layered allegory of Resistance.

“You think that it’ll all work out if we behave?”
“They have the rifle. They’re bigger than us, and stronger.”
“Yes. But there’s more of us.”
]

2002
Blade II 44
[ review ]

2004
Hellboy 64
[ review ]

2006
Pan’s Labyrinth 94
[ review ]

2008
Hellboy II: The Golden Army 75
[ review ]

2013
Pacific Rim 78
[ review ]

2015
Crimson Peak 53
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

2017
The Shape of Water 82
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]