Nightmare Alley

Here we go, first review for 2022. Going to start it off right with “Nightmare Alley”. It’s a 2021 mystery from the mind of Guillermo Del Toro, it has a fantastic cast starring Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Cate Blanchett (The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring), Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man), Richard Jenkins (Burn After Reading), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), and Holt McCallany (Mindhunter).

This film takes place is the 1930’s and early 1940’s and follows the story of Stanton Carlisle (Cooper), a man with a troubled past who joins up with the circus as a laborer. He works his way up in the circus and learns the ins and outs of a mentalist, and soon becomes the hottest act around. He’s playing the best clubs, and hotels around, doing two shows a day. He ends up getting greedy and biting off more than he can chew when a rich and powerful man hires his services to have him contact his dead wife. Playing with fire, Stanton starts believing his own con.

I’m a big fan of Del Toro, I love his directing style. A dark gothic type feel that relies heavily on visuals. Same thing could be said about this film, you see his style throughout. It’s a slow burn, a 2.5 hour movie, but it keeps you glued to the screen the entire time. Everyone plays a great role, especially Cooper. As he gets consumed by greed and the darkness inside him continues to grow, it will keep you guessing what is going to happen. Cooper deserves an Oscar for this role, start your new year out right by seeing this one. I give it a 10/10.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ is a collection of horror short stories from the early 80’s, and early 90’s targeted for middle school age kids by author Alvin Schwartz, and illustrated by Stephen Gammell. I had one of these books as a kid, and if you’ve ever seen the illustrations or read one, you know they are beyond creepy. The illustrations alone freaked me out as a kid, so I was pretty excited to see they were being adapted into a movie. Guillermo del Toro came up with the screen play, which makes perfect sense. He is known for his fantasy, and horror work (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Orphanage). I love his work, and ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ has his name written all over it. This movie relies heavily on Guillermo’s imagery and jump scenes to scare. It reminds of ‘Trick r Treat’ mashed with ‘Goosebumps’ not a scary feel, but more of a spooky. The perfect treat in time for Halloween.