‘Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities’ Review: 7 Tricks, 1 Treat

Guillermo del Toro’s horror anthology for Netflix doesn’t hand out many scares.

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By Mike Hale

The title “Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities” makes a promise and delivers on it, to a greater degree than is absolutely necessary.

Del Toro, the strongest brand name in the horror business, did not direct any of the eight short films in the Netflix anthology, which premieres this week from Tuesday through Friday. But he recruited the writers and directors, and the series does show signs of a curatorial hand, or perhaps of a desire on the part of the chosen filmmakers to salute the master.

For one thing: latex monsters. Most of the episodes — seven of the eight, by my count — incorporate a creature that is at least in part an actual, elaborate construction of the type del Toro has deployed so artfully in his own films. An enormous rat queen bares her fangs in Vincenzo Natali’s “Graveyard Rats”; a bug-eyed Lovecraftian beast bellows in Keith Thomas’s “Pickman’s Model”; in Ana Lily Amirpour’s self-improvement fable “The Outside,” goo is layered on an actress (Lize Johnston) playing a beauty product that won’t stay in the bottle.

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