March 27, 2023
Review of Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities - IGN

Review of Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities – IGN

Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities will premiere with two episodes on October 25, followed by two new episodes daily until October 28.

Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities is marketed as a break from traditional horror. Presented as a hand-picked collection of stories from talented directors, each tale is poised to delight viewers in a unique way. This desired outcome proves elusive, however, as the Cabinet of Curiosities struggles to deliver a cohesive nightmarish experience.

Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities is a horror anthology show in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Del Toro himself provides introductions for all eight episodes, stepping out of the shadows to hint at what’s to come, with the real cabinet of curiosities also present. A few turns of the crank reveal a secret compartment housing an object linked to the current episode and a small figurine representing its director. Looking back at the pageantry of it all, it’s obvious del Toro is having fun as the host. He believes in the merits of each story. This belief is contagious; ornate accessories and cryptic words help build anticipation.

The same goes for lot 36. While the dialogue between the characters is much better, it also ends in a forgettable way. The biggest offender, however, would be The Viewing. Relying solely on a “high” concept and well-written but exhaustive dialogue, it betrays the rest of the series by being downright boring. Its chaotic ending does not at all justify the time spent building it.

There’s also the notion of being this genre-defying collection – a group of stories that will somehow reshape the way fans view horror. But a few of the episodes do the exact opposite by retaining old tropes. As entertaining as Dreams in the Witch House is, it unfortunately reduces its black characters to sidekicks and/or sacrificial lambs. It’s not to say how other people of color were depicted or rarely seen in the first place.

Fortunately, most of the eight episodes are entertaining. Body horror, an ominous atmosphere, intriguing concepts expressed in terrifying ways – there’s a lot for horror fans to enjoy. The uneven nature of del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities prevents the series from being the incredible journey into the macabre that it is meant to be. That said, as a whole, the anthology does enough to warrant a few late night viewings.

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