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5. 'Pan's Labyrinth'
Release date: 2006
Scare factor (1-10): 7
Why it's great: Fairy tales are treated in modern society as stories for children, but every now and then a filmmaker deals with the true nature of these stories, tapping into their raw allegorical power and using them to explore the fears and the dread that we all fear but can't always articulate. Few films have ever more perfectly captured the language of fairy tales as well as Guillermo Del Toro did in this story set against the Spanish Civil War in the '40s. Ivana Baquero gives a great performance as Ofelia, a young girl trying to survive the fascist occupation of her family's land, and the way the film navigates dreamscapes and the real world, blending them until Ofelia no longer knows what is real and what isn't, makes this a mature, haunting, beautiful experience that feels like a nightmare remembered and not just some cookie-cutter "horror" movie. Plus there's a dude with eyeballs in his hands, so it's got that going for it.
- Drew McWeeny