‘Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities’ Review: Come for the Horror, Stay for the Heart

Lead Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
Courtesy of Netflix
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Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities is proof that this creator is a master of horror that knows how to pull at the heartstrings at the same time.

Premiering on Netflix over 4 nights on October 25, Cabinet of Curiosities is a journey through the human condition framed around horror. For some that might sound boring and not their wheelhouse. But this is who del Toro has always been. Just think about Pan’s Labyrinth or The Devil’s Backbone. One has creatures out of this world guiding a girl just trying to figure life out and the other a haunted school with dark secrets and ghosts. Those movies absolutely have horror elements. But they also explore loss, love, anger, and so many other facets of the human condition.

The same thing applies now to Cabinet of Curiosities.

Through this show and the various directors who take on each episode, from Guillermo Navarro to Catherine Hardwicke, we’re taken on a journey where the horror is terrifying. There’s no doubt about that. You will have nightmares. But you either cheer them on or wish for their death because of the choices they make as a person, in relation to others, or even in the situation at the heart of that particular episode. In many ways, and I hope this doesn’t dissuade viewers from watching, it’s who these people are that really carries the story forward and not the horror.

Through episodes like “Lot 36” and “Graveyard Rats,” you’ll gain an understanding of feeling like an outsider while also having this greed in your heart that can’t be quenched. In “The Autopsy” and “The Outside” you’ll sympathize with a longing for connection, whether you’re a seasoned sheriff or just a woman trying to fit in at work. Then there’s “Pickman’s Model” and “Dreams in the Witch House,” which will disturb you while making you question your reality and the actions you take in it. And “The Viewing” and “The Murmuring,” will explore life and the heartbreak that comes hand in hand with it.

Ultimately, each episode of¬†Cabinet of Curiosities¬†has a lesson to learn with giant rats, horrifying witches, and faceless demons as the guiding hands of the story or the means by which these people are judged at the pinnacle of their journey. This is what a masterclass of storytelling looks like. And one that will make you uncomfortable, make you think, make you cry, make you scream, and make you wonder if that monster you’ve felt nipping at your heels is actually real. Who knows? Maybe it is. And maybe you’ll be ready to face it after Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities.