El Laberinto del Fauno
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Before we begin, let's all agree that the creature pictured above is the freakiest thing to ever be shown on screen. Apparently it even had Stephen King squirming in his seat. Now that I have given you all nightmare fuel, I can move on to the rest of the film.
In Post Civil War Spain, eleven year old Ofelia travels to a village in Spain with her pregnant mother to meet her new stepfather, Captain Vidal. Vidal is a cruel man who is obsessed with hunting down rebels. A large insect/weird fairy thing leads Ofelia into an ancient labyrinth. There, she meets a faun who tells her that she must complete three tasks in order to acquire immortality.
This is one of the best and most creative fantasy films I have ever seen. Creatures in Hollywood fantasy movies all tend to look the same. You have the ogres, the dragons, the fairies, etc. However, the filmmakers here manage to create monsters that are entirely unique to this story: strange, yet whimsical; dark, yet intriguing.
I thought the fantasy and war genres were pretty incompatible (although I did end up enjoying Night of the Shooting Stars) but I thought the end result felt brilliantly cohesive. Another five star film. Don't worry, Borat is next so a rant is forthcoming.
Guillermo del Toro was offered twice the budget for the film if he made it in English. He declined, saying that he wouldn't compromise the story to suit market needs.
For the fairy eating scene, Doug Jones had to bite into condoms filled with blood.