Guillermo del Toro has earned his right to his moment in the spotlight as a master of horror and an author; in this case, he is presided over “Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities” on camera in an Alfred Hitchcockian manner. It’s unfortunate that this eight-episode Netflix horror anthology lacks the energy of the director’s filmmaking, with episodes that have monstrous spectacular effects but underdeveloped plots that don’t actually make people want to scream.
Back-to-back episodes of “Cabinet of Curiosities” will be released on Netflix over the course of four consecutive evenings. This novel approach proves to be more original, or at least unusual, than most of the stories. There are two ideas created by del Toro himself, “Lot 36” and “The Murmuring,” and two by horror On the third night, “Dreams in the Witch House” and “Pickman’s Model” by H.P. Lovecraft were rationally combined.
The difficulty of faithfully adapting Lovecraft to the film, as HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” shown, very much sums up the general complaints. With a great cast that includes Tim Blake Nelson, F. Murray Abraham, Glynn Turman, Ben Barnes, Rupert Grint, and Andrew Lincoln, the tone is clearly macabre. Del Toro also personally selected each of the directors, who represent a diverse variety of endeavours and aesthetic preferences.
The stories, however, lack substance and have intriguing idea that simply run out of time, negating the influence of the individual directors and giving the sensation of an exercise that, despite its potential, falls short consistently disappointing.
A wealthy hermit (Peter Weller) gathers a team of experts from various fields to view a bizarre relic in his possession in the “The Viewing” episode, which is possibly the one that best demonstrates this. What is finally revealed after a night of extensive drug consumption is a significant letdown, a pattern “Cabinet” frequently repeats.
In contrast, “The Outside,” starring Kate Micucci as a socially awkward woman who longs to be accepted by her snobby female coworkers, is the most intriguing or at least most “Black Mirror”-like title. However, she soon learns that the fix-your-life products she sees advertised on TV (Dan Stevens makes a hilarious cameo as the spokesman) come with significant side effects.
Clearly, there is a lengthy and extensive history of The Twilight Zone, often resurrected and mimicked but never surpassed, is the gold standard for anthologies in this genre, although that only raises the bar for expectations. The same goes for del Toro’s involvement, whose filmography includes the Oscar-winning “The Shape of Water,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” a true masterpiece, and a visually arresting aesthetic that unifies even his less successful works.
To be fair, the format always has a hit-or-miss element. Though it throws open its doors with del Toro’s contagious exuberance, “Cabinet of Curiosities” is filled with stories lacking in weight and too frequently finds its shelves looking a touch bare.