Guillermo del Toro is one of the most respected and talked about filmmakers in the world. His unique cinematic vision is defined by combining the genre thrills of fantasy and horror with real-life horrors like war and fascism and sadistic stepfathers. But like any director, not every del Toro film is a winner. Some of his films are stronger than others.

His true masterpieces, like Pan’s Labyrinth and The shape of the water — not to mention superhero actioners like Blade II and hellboy – are endless fun. But some of his other films, like mimic and Crimson Peakjustify fewer repetitions.


11 Mimic (1997)

Del Toro’s second work, mimic, definitely a lot of fun. It’s a creature feature with real thrills. But it’s arguably the director’s weakest film because it’s his most generic work.

This was del Toro’s first big-budget film for a major Hollywood studio, and like most directors’ first Hollywood films, his unique vision was diluted by the kind of meddlesome executives who get cold feet when bold, daring, new ideas come to the table.

10 Crimson Peak (2015)

Edith walks in Crimson Peak with candles

On paper, Crimson Peak is pure del Toro. It’s a haunted house story in the Gothic tradition with lots of spooky ghosts and creaky floorboards. Surprisingly, the director focuses much more on romance than horror throughout the film. The ghosts are the sauce on a simple love story.

Unfortunately inside Crimson Peakbeautiful graphics and great performances (especially from Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain) are let down by a meandering script.

9 Cronos (1993)

Del Toro’s low-budget debut film, Cronos, which tells the story of an ancient artifact that grants eternal life, gave his career a strong start. But his later films would only get better. Cronos is full of evidence for an early, inexperienced filmmaker who has yet to learn the ropes.

But it also has many signs of an author with a keen command of the craft and an idiosyncratic perspective. Like most of del Toro’s later films, Cronos explores the inherent monstrosity of man, a subject that will never grow old.

8th Pacific Rim 2013)

With its tale of giant monsters battling humans in giant robotic suits, Pacific Rim is mostly just mindless blockbuster entertainment. But as far as mindless blockbuster entertainment goes, it’s damn exciting.

It’s a nostalgic throwback to kaiju classics that del Toro is clearly a huge fan of. Pacific Rim is a classic example of style over substance, but del Toro’s passionate direction makes up for a conventional screenplay.

7 The Devil’s Spine (2001)

The ghost reaches out in The Devil's Backbone.

After his nightmare experience, he continues to work for a big studio mimicdel Toro returned to his small horror roots for his third feature film, The Devil’s Backbone.

This film established the director’s penchant for pushing poignant social commentary through genre narratives. The Devil’s Backbone uses the horrors of a classic ghost story to reflect the horrors of the Spanish Civil War.

6 Hell Boy (2004)

Ron Perlman as Hellboy

Superhero origin films tend to be less re-watchable than their sequels, as they usually wait until the middle to give the main character superpowers and jump into the action. but hellboy covers the origins of its eponymous antihero nicely and swiftly in the prologue.

Ron Perlman’s performance as a demonic orphan, complete with hilarious one-liners and a delightfully gruff demeanor, is endless to watch.

5 Nightmare Alley (2021)

Bradley Cooper in Nightmare Alley

Surprisingly, Del Toro’s latest work, Horror Noir nightmare alley, withstands repetition better than first viewing. On first viewing, the film’s grueling two-and-a-half hours feel like it’s going nowhere.

It’s a more engaging experience when the viewer knows the upcoming twist. Bradley Cooper’s Stan Carlisle is a thoroughly likable monster; a deeply disturbed individual rushing toward his inevitable tragic end. Cooper is supported by impeccable supporting roles from Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Toni Collette and Richard Jenkins.

4 Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

Hellboy 2

Del Toro’s sequel to hellboysubtitled The Golden Army, is just as great as the original. Like all the best superhero sequels, it’s a bigger, bolder, louder, and more action-packed spectacle than the first. Hellboy II has the added benefit of being able to immerse yourself in the action without having to cover the characters’ backstories.

Perlman feels even more comfortable in the title role the second time around, and the atmosphere of the sequel is moodier and darker than its predecessor.

3 The Shape of Water (2017)

Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones in Shape of Water.

The film that won del Toro the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director The shape of the water is another genre story used as a lens for social commentary. Set in the unenlightened times of 1962 The shape of the water follows a mute supervisor at a top-secret government laboratory who falls in love with an Amazonian fishman.

The romance is surprisingly touching. Del Toro makes sure audiences really care about the love between a social misfit and a creature from the Black Lagoon-type B-movie monster. The shape of the water is a quintessential misfit story, and Sally Hawkins takes the film to stardom with an incredible twist.

2 Blade II (2002)

blade 2

Simply the best entry in Wesley Snipes’ blade Trilogy, Blade II is a vampire-infested amusement that dials into anarchy. Blade II isn’t nearly as deep or complex as some of del Toro’s other films, but that’s part of what makes it so relatable.

There are no heavy issues involved; It’s pure popcorn entertainment. Blade II has stunning graphics, thrilling action sequences, outrageous horror sequences and a wonderfully spooky atmosphere.

1 Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

The Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth

The first film to earn del Toro recognition from the Academy – and arguably his masterpiece – Pan’s Labyrinth is another perfect blend of genre archetypes and powerful social commentary.

Following the perspective of an isolated little girl who escapes into an underground fantasy realm after her mother marries a sadistic military bureaucrat, Pan’s Labyrinth is a classic fairy tale in the form of Alice in Wonderland against the harrowing backdrop of Francoist Spain.

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