10 yr-old Carlos arrives at a Spanish school sheltering the orphans of the Republican militia only to discover it has many supernatural secrets.
This is not a good advert for Hollywood. Not just because Del Toro's poised and poignant ghost story contains more substance and is executed with more style than a half dozen Hollywood monster movies, but because, working for a major studio, Del Toro turned out such dross himself, namely Mimic.
Here the director returns to his Spanish language roots for a complex Gothic horror set in a school for orphaned boys during the Spanish Civil War. Building slowly from a stately start, Del Toro manages to unite all his disparate elements - ghosts and gold, infidelity and politics - for a devastating final reel. The command of sound and colour is breathtaking.
So much better than Del Toro's studio efforts, with a masterful command of sound and and colour that is breathtaking.