Pan’s Labyrinth

Rated 3.0

In 1944 Spain, a little girl goes with her mother to live with the mother’s new husband, a brutal fascist stamping out rebellion in the rural mountains. The girl finds refuge from her miserable existence in a parallel universe of fantastic creatures that may or may not be a figment of her imagination. Writer-director Guillermo del Toro’s latest film displays his usual penchant for grotesque insects and the unnerving sounds of slurping mucus, ratcheting up the “ick” factor for the squeamish, all in the service of a story with obscure and inchoate mythological underpinnings. It’s undeniably well-made, and as repellently fascinating as watching a snake devour a rabbit. But it’s also dismal and bleak, with an appalling downer of an ending. It’s hard to imagine who Del Toro’s intended audience might be.