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Movie Review: Pan's Labyrinth

Alternate Title: Nightmares and Dreamscapes

Story: We are surely not in Kansas anymore as we enter the terrifying world of director and writer Guillermo del Toro.

This Gothic tale takes place in northern Spain in 1944 where Franco's Fascists are fighting the resisting Nationalists. Ofelia, a young girl moves to a military outpost with her pregnant mother who has recently married the very sadistic commander.

Ofelia happens upon a stone labyrinth where she meets a faun who promises her eternal life and an escape from this nightmare of a life if she can complete three tasks (why are there always three tasks?)

Del Toro has created two equally horrifying worlds . The real Fascist controlled world and the fantastic Nether world complete with fairies, fauns, insatiable toads and other scary creatures.

If you like your films dark, scary, nerve wracking and visually stunning, this film is for you. Be warned, there is graphic violence, torture and bad things do happen to good people. This is NOT a film for children.

Acting: Ivana Baquero as little Ofelia is beautiful in an un-Hollywood way and that was very refreshing. She had a lovely combination of nativity and courage. Sergi Lopez was very effective as the terrifying villain. I was afraid every time he came on screen. The entire cast was good.

Predilection: None

Critters: Horses and lots of made up creatures including fairies, fauns, toads, bugs and flying stuff.

Food: Meat, potatoes, milk, bread and an amazing spread of don't touch goodies in the Nether world.

Soundtrack: Stirring

Opening Titles: All of the titles are at the end.

Visual Art: Del Toro creates a fabulous visual experience.

Theater Audience: Packed for the first show on New year's Eve day.

Weather: It seems it does rain in Spain.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 2

Squirm Scale: 5 - There were very squirmy torture scenes where I had to close my eyes often.

Drift Factor: I did not drift at all.

Predictability Level: Moderate

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: The visuals sure were good.

Soap Box: Fascists suck.

Big Screen or Rental: If you are going to see this than the big screen is the way to go. Some of Guillermo del Toro's other films are: Cronos, Mimic, The Devil's Backbone, Hellboy and Blade 2.

Length: Two hours