Nightmare Alley

Nightmare Alley ★★★


Imagining a couple trying to get Spider-Man tickets for opening night and having to settle for this movie instead, just mind-numbingly bored.

As a feat of design and haunted atmosphere, Nightmare Alley is classic Del Toro. The carnival setting of the first half is beautifully lensed. DP Dan Laustsen always delivers. It's also mostly a slog, with not enough grisly, rotten energy to match its ambitions of film noir. Great cast, though. The transition from a impoverished artistic swindle to a wealthier grift with higher stakes is fascinating, although I wish Nightmare Alley wasn't so intent on playing it straight. A far cry from the vibrancy and camp of the Hellboy and Pacific Rim eras, although this certainly isn't the worst film Del Toro has made.

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