Review Date: June 27, 2002
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Writer: Guillermo Del Toro, Antonio Trashorras, David Munoz
Producers: Guillermo Del Toro, Pedro Almodovar
It just felt a little more like a "bad guy vs pesky kids" film at that point, and even though the directing, the acting and the mood were still part of the overall picture, the sense of continuity seemed disturbed and took me out of the proceedings somewhat. Granted, it all came back to connect in the end, but I would have rather the film kept up its eerie feel, the whole way through. But enough about what I would have liked to have seen...the film still works as it is, and a lot of it has to do with director Guillermo Del Toro who creates a palpable setting, directs some pretty wicked shots (the keyhole scare is a classic) and lays the creativity on the story, which is very well written and manages to successfully combine various characters, all of whom have their own believable gripes and motivations. The score was also moody and ideal for the melancholic tale and the few special effects, most of which had to do with the supernatural boy walking about, were original and effective. Yes, there is plenty of symbolism under the basic groundwork of the story as well, but most of that resonated with me only after the film was firmly put to rest. The opening credit sequence was also very moody, setting things up for a ghostly time. It's not a film that the 1-2-3 moviegoers will likely enjoy because it is quite leisurely paced and methodical, but if ghosts, inventive legends, wicked atmosphere and subtitles do it for you...this export is sure to get a rise out of a few of the little hairs on the back of your neck. For me, I enjoyed it on the whole but thought the second half lost a bit of its "edge" and momentum. Still a solid recommendation for anyone looking to curl up with their loved one in unpleasant anticipation.