The Room of Wonders, review: Guillermo Del Toro explores horror

The Room of Wonders, review: Guillermo Del Toro explores horror

The Room of Wonders, review

As Halloween approaches, streaming platforms are announcing various horror and fear themed titles for everyone. Starting from Disney Plus with the return of the Sanderson sisters in Hocus Pocus 2 (of which you can find our review here) and the Werewolf by Night Special Presentation (here our article), we come up to the latest juicy addition of Netflix: The Room of Wonders of Guillermo del Toro, the master of the macabre.

The Room of Wonders: short synopsis

As we have already mentioned, starting from October 25th to and including 28th, two episodes disconnected from each other at the plot level will be added every day , but which deal with horror and fear while remaining on the same theme. The first two episodes entitled Lot 36 (the first of the two original stories written by Guillermo del Toro) and The rats of the cemetery belong to the category of "Sweepers": in both stories we talk about people who, in order to repay their huge debts, clean up the personal effects of someone who no longer needs them or has forgotten them in some warehouse, but found themselves embroiled in far worse deals than they expected.

Lovecraft, one of the greatest writers of horror literature, will then be the protagonist on Thursday 27th, with two of his short stories: Pickman's Model and Dreams in the Haunted House. Infernal demons chase and disturb the protagonists of these episodes, through paintings that seem to be portals to other dimensions.

Finally, on Friday 28th, the series ends with the theme of "Apparitions", with the two episodes The visit and the buzz. Although in both titles we talk about somewhat particular guests, in the first the group of protagonists will have to deal with the actual visitor of their evening, while in the second (the other original story by Guillermo del Toro) the couple will have to deal with a series of strange happenings in the house that hosts them.

The directors of horror and its performers

There is therefore no doubt that The Room of Wonders series is an unprecedented collection of stories that aim to define and challenge our traditional ideas about the horror genre. Having so many extremely different settings, from the late Victorian era of The Rats of the Cemetery, up to the 1980s of The Visit, the different stories brought to the small screen by Guillermo del Toro and his directors have the opportunity to range from the macabre to the magical, from the grotesque to the creepy classic, diversifying and adapting a little to anyone who watches The Room of Wonders.

And if among the directors we have some already well-known names such as Guillermo Navarro (The Labyrinth of the Faun), Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) and Ana Lily Amirpour (The Bad Batch), the cast for the various episodes is certainly no less. As stated by the director himself, the idea of ​​an anthology series like The Room of Wonders is probably very tempting for the actors: filming can last from two to four weeks maximum, so they are not as binding as a film or film might be. even a film saga.

You arrive on the set, create an entire world in a short time and then leave it, without the weight of what comes next, making it almost a vacation from the typical job of the actor. For this reason probably, they managed to grab a very respectable cast for each episode. However, del Toro was keen to specify that none of the names within the cast were imposed, on the contrary: he preferred to ask his directors for their ideal cast and satisfy them in that one.

The only exception was perhaps that of Crispin Glover, who everyone will remember in Back to the Future 2 as George McFly. Guillermo del Toro in fact admitted that he had thought of him for a long time as the actor best suited to a Lovecraft story thanks to his features. And what better episode than that of Pickman's Model? But Glover is not the only well-known face of the series, on the contrary: in almost every episode, viewers will be able to recognize several famous actors.

In The Murmur you will be able to see Andrew Lincoln, the Rick Grimes of the famous The Walking Dead , in The Autopsy instead F. Murray Abraham, the original voice of Khonsu from Moon Knight. In Dreams in the Haunted House it will not be difficult to recognize Rupert Grint in the role of the protagonist, after having worn Ron Weasley's in the Harry Potter saga for several years, while instead in the first episode entitled Lot 36 we have Tim Blake Nelson, who will resume in 2024 play Samuel Sterns in Captain America: New World Order.

Recurring themes in The Room of Wonders

There is therefore no doubt that this anthology series is trying to lay the foundations to define and reshape what horror is for each of us. From Guillermo del Toro then, one would not expect anything different: he is in fact one of those somewhat particular directors, who specifically like to explore the new and the different, with almost defined themes in each of his works and with a precise directorial signature. which makes his productions easily recognizable.

Since his first real film Cronos, the main elements of his stories were fully defined: conflicting relationships, especially those between fathers and sons, scary monsters with a humanity superior to "normal" people, introspective travels and political struggles. All surrounded by the typical color that distinguishes it and which contrasts various levels of saturation of water green with those of orange.

It is therefore natural that, although The Room of Wonders is not a set of works directed by him, in the various episodes the influences of the Mexican director can be widely recognized. The eight stories in fact, were personally chosen by del Toro, and explore the various meanings that the word "horror" can have for different people. We thus have creatures from other universes, personal demons and monstrous beings who draw directly from the depths of the human psyche, disturbing the viewer with different sensations.

Summing up

So define The Room of Wonders a simple series of horror stories is infinitely reductive, especially for the enormous work that the director and producer, the directors of the episodes, the cast and all the technical and scenic crew have done on each of the eight titles that make up the series. This collection is suitable for anyone, both for those who want to get in the mood for the Halloween party, and also for those who prefer something stimulating on a narrative level but which does not impose a necessary constancy in looking at it.

Each episode in The Room of Wonders is able to amaze, fascinate and frighten the spectators who decide to enter this room of Guillermo del Toro's horror collections. So you just have to watch the new horror anthology series by the Mexican director, available in streaming on Netflix from 25 October.

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