Maestro of horror and creatures digs deep into the psychology of man and discovers his newest evil, mankind itself and delivers something truly special in his newest outing, Nightmare Alley. Guillermo Del Toro is back, and steps away from the creatures of his past, his robotic monster killers, and his world of suspense to give us something much more intellectually disturbing, the power of man. Nightmare Alley focuses on the psychological, the manipulation and the desires of mankind to create a truly horrifying reality that at its core, us as a society, cannot escape the true depths of.
Stanton Carlisle, played by the magnificent Bradley Cooper, who joins a traveling circus and makes a name for himself by being a mentalist that manages to prey on and take advantage of the touring cities. He truly hones his craft and attracts the eye of Molly Cahill played by Rooney Mara. As things heat up between the two star crossed lovers, there are a few tricks left up Stanton’s sleeve as he makes a go at it for himself, stealing Molly from the carnival and wanting to make it big himself. He has one rule that he almost religiously follows, never make a spook show. That is until one fateful evening, he gets questioned by Dr. Lilith Ritter and thinks start to take a turn for the wild and crazy as his rule gets broken for the needs of greed, and his life as he knows it slowly starts to turn into something even he couldn’t predict.
The performances in Nightmare Alley are truly some of the years best. Everyone from Bradley Cooper to Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman, and Mary Steenburgen are all phenomenal. Everyone gives this movie their all, their love, their admiration, their absolute best and it bleeds through the screen. The raw emotion, the raw talent, the raw desperation, it is all there and truly shines throughout the feature. This cast illuminates the direction and story that Guillermo Del Toro helms and creates truly a work of art.
Nightmare Alley is truly something special that needs to be seen and digested to truly be appreciated. It requires you to stay with the film and think about everything you’ve seen and marinate in its story telling and creation of this world that it brings to life to create something special, something romantic, something haunting. The movie will transfix upon your soul, force you to think and examine everything you’re witnessing and experiencing and then reveal the true horror of itself to you and leave your jaw on the ground. Nightmare Alley is truly a horror film, disguised as anything else but when the master of horrors emits his wishes, you will realize this is a creature movie after all but not the creature movie you were expecting.