Chandler Chavez’s review published on Letterboxd:
I don't have many regrets in life, but one of them is now the fact that I skipped on watching this film back when it was assigned to me back in my film history class. I had no idea what I was missing out on.
Del Toro has proven time and time again that he is the master of monsters, and I do believe this is his masterpiece. This film blurs the line between reality and fantasy, using it's setting of post civil war Spain to make the world of pale men and Faun's seem a lot less scary comparatively. The monsters are without a doubt some of the most detailed and beautifully created works of costuming I think I've ever seen in a film, right up there with the Creature from the Black Lagoon and the LOTR films. They just move so naturally that it they feel as real as Ofelia believes them to be.
This movie also manages to be so childlike in dark that it brings the dark truth of many of our beloved fairy tales to light, and fuses the brutality of the world with the innocence of youth. Full of haunting imagery both real and fantasy, this film perfectly demonstrates that wishful thinking we do as children to cope with difficult situations. It leaves you questioning whether the labyrinth was all a coping mechanism, but does so in a way that you can lean one way or another depending on your mood.
There's a lot to unpack here but at the risk of ranting I just want to say that every expectation I had with this film was far exceeded and if you haven't seen this already, you owe it to yourself to check it out.