Guillermo del Toro is an excellent filmmaker, and Pan's Labyrinth is his best work to date. It tells the story of Ofelia, a young Spanish girl who discovers a fantasy world when she is forced to move in with her new stepfather, the barbaric Spanish military officer, Vidal. Needless to say, this makes for a very interesting story. Ofelia's fairy tale world mirrors the events in the real world, so that while we are in it with her, the fantasy aspect of the story is at its best, but when we are not dealing with fantasy, the dramatic tension is heightened. No matter what point we are at in the story, we are always invested in the characters. The actors had a large part to do with this too. Ivana Baquero is excellent as Ofelia, and Sergi Lopez is so invested in his role as Captain Vidal that he brings life to a character who, in lesser hands, could easily come across as another cardboard cut out villain that we are meant to hate, but instead, we empathize with him, even when we know we shouldn't. The direction is superb, and the cinematography and effects work are astoundingly well done. Top this all off with a remarkable supporting cast, and the result is the greatest fantasy movie of all time. Violence: A man's face is smashed in with a glass bottle. A man is tortured. We see him get hit in the face with a hammer before the scene cuts away. Later, we see the same man with his hand torn to pieces, and a doctor performs a mercy killing on him. A man is stabbed several times and has his cheek slashed open. He is later seen stitching the wound back up. Several people are shot, including one notable case where a man is shot in the head. There is a close up of his face, and we briefly see blood beginning to trickle from the bullet wound and his eye, before he falls out of frame. A young girl is killed. Ofelia is menaced by several deadly creatures, including a giant frog that, when fed three magical stones, deflates and vomits up a gooey yellow substance. In another scene, Ofelia is chased by a pale-skinned creature with eyes in its hands. It bites the heads off of two fairies, and nearly catches her, but she escapes. Also, in the creatures lair, we see several paintings of it killing and eating children, and a mound of used shoes.
Language: 4 uses of f*ck, 1 of motherf*cker, 1 misuse of Jesus' name, and several uses of bitch, sh*t, and damn.