Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Cupboard of Curiosities’ is a Nicely-Curated, Broad-Ranging Horror Anthology


Netflix’s newest anthology options Guillermo del Toro presenting eight horror tales from style filmmakers. It’s bold, inventive, and at instances delightfully creepy.

Guillermo Del Toro Cabinet Of Curiosities Review


By Valerie Ettenhofer · Revealed on October twenty fourth, 2022

Lately, the TV anthology has develop into one thing of a single-author format. From Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror to Noah Hawley’s Fargo to Mike White’s The White Lotus, anthologies have develop into the popular supply methodology for tales advised by only one particular person. This makes Guillermo del Toro’s Cupboard of Curiosities, the imaginative, spooky, and surprisingly versatile episodic anthology that’s about to hit Netflix, an extra-fresh breath of recent air.

Regardless of the famed director’s title within the title, the brand new collection entails myriad voices, every of them distinctive. Del Toro serves as creator, curator, host, and occasional author, however the collection works in addition to it does as a result of he isn’t afraid so as to add different artists to his assortment – and he chooses a proficient bunch. The present’s eight-episode first season options tales from the likes of David Prior (The Empty Man), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), Vincenzo Natali (Dice), Ana Lily Amirpour (A Woman Walks House Alone at Evening), Panos Cosmatos (Mandy), and extra.

Cupboard of Curiosities is about to premiere with two episodes per day throughout a number of days, an old-school type of presentation that matches the format Del Toro seemingly goals to encourage together with his collection. The filmmaker seems for temporary introductions to every episode, a la Rod Serling in The Twilight Zone or the eponymous host of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. After that, we’re whisked away to one in every of eight singular tales, every of which is fascinating whilst some are, as is at all times the case with anthologies, higher than others.

Regardless of the sturdy filmmaking voices behind the digital camera, there are themes that run by means of Cupboard of Curiosities. A number of tales are interval items from the period of Spiritualism when science and cause collided with the otherworldly. Many, if not most, episodes comprise a component of cosmic horror, a way of awe that’s usually coupled with existential dread. And for probably the most half, these are creature options, stuffed with drippy, scratching, pulsating monsters that appear extra misunderstood than malevolent.

These commonalities may make Cupboard of Curiosities sound just like the type of experiment that may get previous, however it doesn’t. Whereas just a few comparable tales mix collectively, the standouts are totally distinctive. My private favourite is perhaps “The Outdoors,” the hour that Amirpour directed. Based mostly on a narrative by the wonderful horror comedian creator Emily Carroll, “The Outdoors” follows an odd, self-conscious girl (Kate Micucci) who longs to slot in along with her shiny, divorced coworkers. Martin Starr performs her aw-shucks husband, who begins to query her when she begins turning into obsessive about a miraculous, overpriced lotion. “The Outdoors” isn’t simply humorous, relatable, and macabre, however it additionally possesses a novel visible type, stuffed with alienating close-ups and garish costume selections.

“The Outdoors” isn’t the one curiosity with a streak of darkish humor: Natali’s providing, “Graveyard Rats,” is a grotesque and hilarious wheel of fortune story a couple of grave robber that grows more and more, splendidly ludicrous earlier than climaxing in a memorably disgusting approach. That episode’s solely draw back is a few less-than-stellar CGI, however fortunately, not each episode depends on results a lot. “The Viewing,” a nerve-wracking story directed and co-written by Cosmatos, at first calls to thoughts basic bottle episodes of The Twilight Zone, just like the tough vacation outing, “5 Characters in Search of An Exit.” It quickly goes wildly off the rails, although, and we get to witness a solid, together with Peter Weller, Eric Andre, and Charlyne Yi, endure a trippily horrible evening.

Not each episode is humorous, both. Kent’s entry, “The Murmuring,” is probably the most naturalistic of the bunch, with The Babadook star Essie Davis and The Strolling Useless’s Andrew Lincoln enjoying ornithologists who start a residence at a house that has a haunting historical past. The episode is gorgeous and spare, speaking its unhappy story with the identical assured sense of storytelling that made Kent’s first movie a breakout. In the meantime, Prior helms probably the most genuinely chilling entry, a freaky sluggish burn known as “The Post-mortem” that stars F. Murray Abraham and Glynn Turman.

Whereas not one of the season’s eight tales scared me in any lasting, leave-the-lights-on sense, they did current some horrifying imagery, principally of the physique horror selection. Pores and skin sloughs off, eyes get gouged, heads explode, and other people get cooked for dinner. The gore right here is flexible, utilized in alternative ways by completely different filmmakers, and it at all times makes a powerful impression. This will get to the basis of what makes Cupboard of Curiosities so successful: it’s acquired weak spots, certain (the primary episode, “Lot 36,” is perhaps the present’s least spectacular), however it’s by no means something however bold. Not like most middle-of-the-road horror anthologies, it by no means stoops low for a scare or a gross-out second. As an alternative, it’s a constant testomony to its creators’ love of storytelling, horror, and, sure, curiosity.

Guillermo del Toro’s Cupboard of Curiosities debuts on Netflix on October 25, 2022. Watch the collection trailer right here.

Associated Subjects: Horror, Netflix

Valerie Ettenhofer is a Los Angeles-based freelance author, TV-lover, and mac and cheese fanatic. As a Senior Contributor at Movie Faculty Rejects, she covers tv by means of common critiques and her recurring column, Episodes. She can be a voting member of the Critics Alternative Affiliation’s tv and documentary branches. Twitter: @aandeandval (She/her)



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