Pan's Labyrinth ★★★★★

“Come to bed and close your eyes. Now it's time to say goodnight, so that you may dream of lands, great lands, beyond our own. Faun will come to take you there, fairies fly and touch your hair. Joyfully they sing their songs of your return back home.”

Pan’s Labyrinth is like ink drizzled moonlight that entangles me up in dark vines, ignited by silver beams of imagination. Boundless blacks and supersaturated blues and oranges set the flame of horror alight, like a somber sky that holds the sun hostage for days. Glimmers of hope pierce the darkness like shards of starlight.

Ofelia sees magic all around her: crickets transform into fairies, toad statues start to drip sticky malice, forests become fauns with vines and roots blooming from fur and flesh, and a pale man who screws violently red eyeballs into his root-shaped hands sits in the same position at a dinner table as her evil stepfather. She is drawing the horror of her everyday life into fantasy. These mystical spirits don’t only allow her to escape, but somehow survive until grim conclusion.

Guillermo del Toro creates a maze with multiple stories that branch and swirl, flowing apart and blending back together, like the blood that spills over the jagged boulder. Weaving in and out of fantasy and reality, mystical worlds open majestically and then fold back upon themselves, space and time dimensions are crinkled into shape, like some sort of elaborate origami. Drenched in the realities of milk, honey and blood, Pan’s Labyrinth descends you into your nightmares and barely pulls you out; it’s nothing short of magic.

Griffin Stenzel liked these reviews