Much like The Twilight Zone, Guillermo Del Toro’s (he/him) new Netflix show Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities is looking to provide viewers with an anthology of stories meant to scare. As of the time of this review, two episodes have been released: “Lot 36” and “Graveyard Rats”.
Starting with “Lot 36”, the episode begins with Guillermo explaining what a cabinet of curiosities is before telling the audience the story and our director for the episode. This was directed by Guillermo Navarro (he/him), who was cinematographer for some of Del Toro’s previous works. Going to give it straight, this episode had such an interesting concept: person buys a storage lot at an auction, but it turns out to hold something sinister, but our main character, the person we’re usually rooting for in horror, is a Reagan era far-right guy, played by Tim Blake Nelson (he/him) who is insanely abrasive and isn’t very interesting. Not only that but typically good horror has a semi-fast pace to it, while this 45-minute episode drags on, feeling longer than it was.
While its first episode wasn’t very strong, it being an anthology series thankfully doesn’t mean it has a heavy affect on the other episodes. The following episode, “Graveyard Rats” is directed by Vincenzo Natali (he/him) and is certainly an improvement. In this episode, grave robber Masson, played by David Hewlett (he/him), must pay his debts back but a large population of rats impedes him. The immediate improvement this episode has over the first is that it actually has a more compelling character, Masson is scrappy and desperate but has quite the extravagant dialogue, fitting for its ye olde Salem setting. Along with that, this episode is much more horrifying, especially for viewers with claustrophobia as much of it has him crawling around the graveyard’s underground. Overall, though, a much better scare factor to be found here.
Now, since this is an anthology series, it’s harder to judge it in its entirety from two episodes, so instead I’ll say that it does have promise, but the multiple directors leave it inconsistent in quality.